CaringKind is the heart of NYC’s Alzheimer's caregiving and their mission is to create and promote comprehensive and compassionate care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
WATCH Daniel’s opening remarks as the featured guest speaker!
Below is the transcript:
I’m Daniel Kenner and I’m the captain of team MY BUDDY AND ME. The last time our team walked this boardwalk, both my parents were here to join us. Dad was diagnosed with frontotemporal lobe dementia on Valentine’s Day 2013. Four months later mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. After a long, and loving, and extremely challenging, four years, they passed away within a month of one another in 2017. We were fortunate that we were afforded a long goodbye and any day I get to talk about my parents, is a good day. I had a serious bout of depression this week and I remembered a birthday message my dad wrote when I turned 23. It said, “Hope this year is the beginning of more success for you. You’re a very special son, Dan, and we love you very much… mood swings and all.” Dad was always way ahead of his time. Then it said “PS Make mom happy, don’t go backwards but forward.” And I think that’s applicable on a day we’ve joined together to put one foot in front of the other. I want to thank my very generous teammates, they are truly my family. Countless times over the years you have put me first. I appreciate I can share with you the good, the bad and the ugly, even though it breaks my heart when you see me sad or scared or lonely but in a very powerful way, I’m blessed you are the ones I can be comfortable to do so with. I know you walk with all of us on our mission today. Thank you! Our family was lucky that Dad’s dementia chipped away all of the BS, all that was left was purity. There was no anger, there was no agitation. There was only kindness. Love. A smile that creased to the edges of his eyes. When he spoke it was from the deepest reaches of his heart. In this sense we were lucky. I want to take a moment and recognize the long hours, sacrifice, and hard work all the caregivers gathered here today bring to the task of caring for your loved one. There will be many, many along the journey who are not able to fully engage and you are the strong and you are the capable and if you haven’t been told, or reminded, recently, I am so proud of you! If we did not recognize and fight what is unfair, the fairness in the world would not be nearly as precious. It’s important to be grateful for the present, to celebrate those we are with today, what they can do now. And so I want to recognize all our family and friends, our neighbors and coworkers, here with us today who do have dementia or, any another long-term illness. Thank you for allowing us to be beside you and trusting us with your stories. That is no light feat. You give us glimpses of your life that we never knew. It is these stories, these extraordinary tales and accomplishments, we will hold and share for a lifetime. Dementia interferes with daily life. It starts out slowly, intrudes gradually, interrupts before you’re ready. It detaches you from the life you created, the goals and the plans. It restricts your life, it separates you from the future. It’s my honor to speak in support of CaringKind for they provide the necessary resources that help manage the burdens and stress when life spins out of control. It’s an organization that gives you the chance to realize how big your community is. And that’s one of the positives to tragedy. It allows you to see the good in people. If everything was perfect we wouldn’t find opportunities that shine a light on empathy and compassion and generosity. You just have to embrace the concept of “yes.” To allow others to carry you when you need to be carried. Today we are a community, and we rally together and by allowing others in, our family, our friends, our neighbors, we all get to see the best of ourselves. Single moments are so dear, so precious. Savor the visits. Listen, share, smile, connect. Live in the present, because that's all there is. The future is not dependable. That’s why we’re here today. To make new memories. The sadness may never go away, it’s easy to notice the struggles in life. Just don’t forget to embrace the joy, the love, the connections and to always honor how far we go. Thank you for being here and best to you and your families! Please come and find me and lets talk about Jacob and Maureen.