Dementia is a large umbrella of diseases with Alzheimer’s disease being the most well known and prevalent; however, there are many different variations and all of which are just as devastating as the next.
While dementia is typically thought of as affecting the elderly, early onset dementia represents approximately 5% of total cases.
We spoke with Ryan Welch of Buffalo, NY who wanted to highlight his extraordinary mom on #HopeRises to spread crucial awareness about this devastating disease, and to let others going through this that they are not alone.
"In March of 2015, my mom, Denise Welch was working full time and by April of that year she was undergoing evaluation by a team of neurologists as to why she was confused and suffering from short term memory loss. Two months later at the age of 58 she was diagnosed with early onset Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).
The disease progressed rapidly and within just over a year, I, her only child, was no longer able to take care of her on my own and she was placed in an assisted living community. By September of 2017, her conditioned had worsened and she was placed in Hospice care.
My mother passed away on the morning of October 6th at the tender age of 61.
Denise was a very caring and creative person whose quirky sense of humor could always make someone laugh. Anytime someone needed a hand, she was willing to help, no matter how bad her arthritis was or if she had other plans that day. She was charitable, creative, articulate, friendly, and smart.
She could bake and kept everyone around her slightly chubby with her weekly gifts of fattening cookies, brownies and cakes! Overall my mom was great; a great friend, a great parent and just a great person. And her story is just one of many sad stories of someone being lost all too early to this awful disease.
I am holding a memorial picnic in her memory on June 16th at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park - shelter 29c, from 11am until the park closes.
As part of the event there will be a basket raffle with all proceeds benefiting the WNY Alzheimer’s Association and Hospice Buffalo. The event is free to attend and is a great way to celebrate the life of a wonderful woman and to support two great organizations that help countless local people."
More information can be found here.