Walking to End Alzheimer’s with courage

By Jaime Saunders

David and Shari Giddens have been married 41 years. For them, it’s always been about family. “We have 2 sons, John (wife Christina) who have our two grands, Clarke and Gus, and Ben (wife Kim). Before his diagnosis at age 65, David was an educator and coach. He especially loved coaching girls softball and basketball. We have many happy memories of going to ball games and interacting with his players and their families. Our kids grew up in the bleachers!”

While David loved coaching, his family has always come first, especially his grandchildren.

“When our first grandchild was born, my son asked David what he wanted our granddaughter to call him. He jokingly said “Stargazer” and the name stuck!” This will be the fourth year that the Giddens have participated in the Savannah Walk to End Alzheimer’s, walking as Team Stargazer’s Stompers to “stomp out Alzheimer’s”.

“Upon learning of his diagnosis, David was, of course, set back. Since then, he has faced it head on and with courage and grace. I am participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to honor my husband by raising funds for Alzheimer’s research and support services.”

Shari is David’s primary caregiver and wants to keep him home as long as she can. Using vital resources that the Alzheimer’s Association provides, Shari and David have been able to educate themselves about the disease and get support. “I know firsthand how helpful the services of the Alzheimer’s Association are. They have helped us navigate through the difficulties of this disease.”

“When my husband was first diagnosed, we contacted the local Alzheimer’s Association branch and were able to attend classes for couples facing Alzheimer’s. David has a med alert bracelet due to hep from the Association. Later we were involved in a support group and I am able to get caregiver support through the online discussion boards and staff members.”

“I want to raise awareness of this devastating disease and help end the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s. It is always uplifting to attend the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and see the support of people who are also fighting this disease.”

To learn more about how you can start a Walk to End Alzheimer’s team or join a team in your community, visit georgiawalk.org.

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