Women Who Inspire: Karen Garner
care partner, working mother, passionate Alzheimer's advocate

I am a 44-year-old mom of two and I have been married to a wonderful, smart, loving and steady man for almost 17 years. Oh yeah, and he is a handsome man too.

My husband also has younger-onset Alzheimer's disease. That is a mouthful. It is also a life full. A life full of hopes dashed. A life full of new beginnings. A life full of learning patience and accepting what life throws at you and realizing the universe laughs at you every time you think that you control your own destiny.

Jim's brother and Mom had younger-onset Alzheimer's too. It became apparent to me — to us — that this disease runs in Jim's family. That is when it dawned on me: our children are susceptible to this disease. This nightmare could return to our family again and again unless something is done.

This is why Jim and I are Alzheimer's advocates. We meet with our elected officials every year. We do this for our children. We do this for all children. We do this as a way to fight back against the very thing that is taking Jim away from everything he holds so dear.

And I share our story in the hope that someone—maybe you—will read my words and feel compelled to take action.

When my children look back, I want them to know that I did everything in my power to release our family from this tragedy. I am a fighter. I am someone that wants to make a difference.

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