Barbara Sprouse Cummings was not surprised when her father, Ed Sprouse was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. Six years prior, she was noticing that her father seemed distant and from that point on, several other signs alarmed Barbara including not remembering where grocery stores were located or remembering times for lunch dates.
“We all wanted to believe it was just aging or hearing issues”, added Barbara. “In 2016, a vascular doctor found dark plaques in his brain but said it was normal aging. Soon after, I remember calling my dad and he could did not know where the Piggly Wiggly was, but as soon as I said ‘the old Louis Jones’, he remembered.
After the official diagnosis, Barbara’s family reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association where Barbara found support groups that she attends regularly. “Our local regional office in Columbus is awesome and has really helped my family with dealing with the diagnosis”.
She also learned about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In 2018, Barbara started a team, Sprouses Spreading Awareness to ENDALZ. This year Barbara’s team fundraising goal is $5,000.
“My father is an incredible, wise, loving man. He has given his time and talents to our family and served so graciously in our community. I desire to help him and others by the example he has always been”.
Barbara’s dad has completely accepted his diagnosis. “Dad is very healthy, he remains very active. He has five friends that he walks with almost every day”.
Barbara’s goal with being involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is to raise awareness of the disease but also to help try and erase the stigma. “It’s [stigma] not ok, these are precious, amazing people and they are not alone in the journey. My father is living life to the fullest and living courageously while he can”.
To learn more about a Walk to End Alzheimer’s in your community, visit georgiwalk.org or call 1-800-272-3900.