Why I Walk

Dick Helstein and wife Sue

By Dick Helstein

In thinking about this question, I discovered a number of reason why I walk that I’d like to share.

I walk to honor and lift up the memory of my wife, Sue who passed away after a gallant fight with Alzheimer’s 3 years ago and whose birthday is the 22nd of October, less than a week before this special Walk. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and bravely committed to personally fight this disease as long as she could. In fact she said, “I am not going to be defined by this affliction.” She took up tap dancing, German, violin as well as all forms of exercise swimming, biking and walking until Alzheimer’s rendered her bed-ridden, unable to walk or speak.

I walk to honor my children, who never hesitated in this unbelievably difficult journey. Despite their grieving, they pulled together as a united family unit and showered their mother and me with their precious and needed love, support and prayers.

I walk to honor our wonderful friends, a number of whom were caregivers, and their partners. They loved and encouraged Sue and me during those seven difficult years — joining us in person on these Walks, or in spirit when unable to make them through their generous contributions.

And finally, importantly, I walk in full and heartfelt support to honor this critically important effort to raise funds for research, support and understanding. I walk so that the “first survivor” can be more than a wish, a hope, a dream, but can, in fact, be a miraculous reality for mine and so many families and individuals. I walk so that they never have to experience the pain of this affliction.

That is why I walk. I hope you’ll join me either in person or in spirit at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Sarasota on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Nathan Benderson Park.

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