Longest Day fundraiser will be held on Friday
Pat Jenkins, Dorothy White, Phyllis Ladehoff, and Melva Mineart are women who have all been affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Each woman has either had a spouse or family member who has suffered from Alzheimer’s, which is why they decided to become involved in a fundraiser that will help raise funds for research on Alzheimer’s disease.
“Alzheimer’s just hasn’t had enough funding,” Jenkins said.
The fundraiser is called the “the longest day,” and will take place on Friday, June 20, in the United Presbyterian Home’s big exercise room. The fundraiser begins at 5:30 a.m. and will go to 7 p.m.
“People can sign up for 15-minute intervals of walking using the NuStep machine, which uses both the hands and the feet,” Jenkins said.
Anyone can go in and use the machine. He or she just need to sign up ahead of time with Amy Kleese and let her know what time slot they would like to have.
“I signed up for three hours thinking I was going to help, but I’m not running the NuStep machine for three hours,” White said.
White said she would use the NuStep machine for a little while but would stay after she was done to cheer another volunteer on.
Jenkins will also be participating Friday morning. Her husband also suffers from Alzheimer’s. She said it is really hard to see him go through this.
“Well, it’s hard to know when it begins, for one thing,” Jenkins said. “The symptoms are nebulous—is that the right word? I don’t know. You don’t know what’s wrong with them. Is that right?”
White and Ladehoff both agreed with Jenkins.
White described what she saw happening to her husband when he was suffering from the disease.
“You just watch your loved one turn from a human being to a child again,” White said.
“And each one is so different and lasts differently,” Ladehoff said. “You never know what they’re going to be doing next, and they don’t know what they’re doing next.”
Ladehoff’s husband also suffered from the disease. Her husband passed away last November.
White mentioned a night when Ladehoff’s husband got out of the care center.
“I think that event scared all of us,” White said. “It was so scary. You just never knew when you went to bed at night, went to sleep, whether or not—what would happen during the night.”
Ladehoff said she went to sleep next to her husband that evening and woke up to find him gone. Several people went out searching for him and he was safely found. After that incident she put bells on all of her doors so she could hear if he was trying to leave.
This wasn’t the only time he got out of the care facility, Ladehoff said. One time a pizza delivery truck came and the deliveryman left the door open, so her husband got into the truck.
“He went and tried to leave in the pizza truck,” Ladehoff said. “The nurses had to go out and get him; that was I think the last straw.”
Her husband was moved to a locked Alzheimer’s care facility in Coralville shortly afterward.
Each of the women have formed a friendship and dealt with the disease through humor.
“You have to kind of laugh sometimes,” Jenkins said. “If you don’t laugh at some of the things they do, you just go crazy.”