Imagine finding out a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease — what would you do?
Nearly 16.1 million Americans provide care for those with Alzheimer’s, without pay, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website.
Those caregivers provide an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care or more than $232 billion worth.
For a local family, the diagnosis of a loved one turned into almost half a year of hiking to raise money for the association.
Six years ago, Lauri Paeper was told her boyfriend of now 24 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Since his diagnosis, Paeper has been providing care for him. For the first few years, up until two and a half years ago, the two lived apart — her in Des Moines and him in Auburn.
“One day he was over and he just didn’t want to go home,” she said about the two now living together.
Paeper said last July she officially retired and became a full-time caregiver.
Her son, Toby Gallier, began hiking the 2,664 mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. His mission is to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Gallier, a Renton resident, began his estimated five month journey on April 3.
In a blog post by Gallier on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, he said his hike in connection with The Longest Day. The Longest Day is described as “the longest day of the year (where) thousands of people will join together to show their love for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.”
“While I’m sure there will be many days during my time on the trail that will feel like ‘the longest day,’ it’s nothing compared to the impact Alzheimer’s has on so many lives,” Gallier wrote in his blog.
So far he has raised $6,545 of his $26,500 goal.
You can read more about Gallier’s journey on his blog at http://further.blog/.