Walk to End Alzheimer’s honorary family encourages conversation among community while hoping for a cure

Walk to End Alzheimer’s honorary family encourages conversation among community, hopes for a cure

MAPLETON, Minn. (KEYC) — Mankato’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s is this Saturday. Each year, an honorary family is chosen. This year is the Fritz family from Mapleton.

After their father, Doug, was diagnosed last year, the family saw it as an opportunity to help raise awareness for the incurable disease.

“Doug went through many things. A CAT scan, MRI, we had to rule out Lyme disease, vitamin D deficiency, sleep apnea so we had many tests on the road to the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, so that’s a frustrating part for families, I know,” Doug’s wife Laura said.

They hope their involvement in the walk will show others that they aren’t alone in this.

“Not to be scared off by it like any disease. When the community might see my dad or some old friends or anything like that, don’t be afraid to come up and talk to us. Just want people to be open and honest discussion with us, ask how we’re doing and just continue to be as friendly as they have been before in the past," Doug’s youngest son Jake said.

“People don’t want to talk about it or they’re afraid they’re going to say the wrong thing, I don’t think that’s possible. If you care, you reach out and let people know whatever you need, what can I do for you today to help you," Laura added.

“Be lying if I’d say it wasn’t challenging, especially for my mother who always around it every day with my dad. We’ve learned a lot from each other, we’ve grown a lot together closer as a family but it’s something I wouldn’t wish upon anybody to either have to go," Jake said.

“We’re not in this life alone so we need to reach out, that’s another important thing, we need to keep reaching out to others. If we’re going to make this all work we need each other to get it done," Laura added.

“This is coming from a person that I admire more than anybody in my life, it’s my dad and he said if you don’t have a family, you have nothing and I’ve got the greatest family in the whole damn world,” Doug said.

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