‘Don’t Forget I Love You’ — Rose Gallagher

As a graduate of Shelburne Community School and Champlain Valley Union High School, I am grateful for the special community I call home. I now live in Boston and have begun a career as a registered nurse. I’m currently working on a project that is incredibly important to me, and appreciate greatly the opportunity to share my story.

I vividly remember saying goodbye to my grandmother after a visit years ago. While giving her a hug I noticed tears in her eyes. I didn’t understand why, but now know it was because this was the beginning of when she could no longer trust her mind as her own, altering goodbyes forever. Changes happened slowly, but happened. She stopped cooking. She was no longer spotted outside gardening. She addressed me by my first name less and less. Her name was now signed on cards in my grandfather’s handwriting. Conversations shortened. Her voice at family gatherings quieted.

Incredibly, after years of disease progression, she has still remembered to say “don’t forget I love you.” It’s as if this is what she chose to hang on to. Through the depths of this neurological disorder, her love has remained as strong and unquestionable as ever.

Unfortunately, my Alzheimer’s story is not unique. As a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, I specialize in memory disorders. Every day I work with patients and their families who walk this difficult journey. No two cases are the same, yet our paths all connect. As the prevalence of this disease grows, we hang onto hope for a cure. I will be running the 2018 Boston Marathon as a charity runner for the Alzheimer’s Association. I’ve set an ambitious goal to raise $8,000 and hope that you will consider joining me in the fight against this devastating disease. To donate; please visit crowdrise.com and search “rosegallagher2” for my fundraising page. If you’re more comfortable donating through a different method, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at rose.elizabeth222@gmail.com.

Rose Gallagher
Boston, Mass.

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