My name is Kristi Newman and I walk for my father, Julius Daniel Benton, Jr., who lost his life on November 20, 2008, after a 16-year battle with Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, FTLD. After Alzheimer’s, FTLD is the second most common cause of dementia for individuals under the age of 65.
This year will be my fifteenth Walk and I am proud to be the Northern Neck – Middle Peninsula Walk to End Alzheimer’s honorary chair.
My dad started showing symptoms of dementia in 1992 when he was just 52 years old. He was always the jolliest person you could ever hope to meet and he started to get angry all the time, and we could see personality changes. He was an extremely talented aircraft carrier designer but lost his job because of short-term memory loss. It was extremely sad to see someone so well-respected in his field, and in his community, struggle with the disease.
Dementia stole my Dad from us at such an early age. Something so horrible shouldn’t happen to anyone, let alone someone at such a young age. I think about the things he’s missed since he left us, and it makes me incredibly sad and I miss him every single day.
People often ask me why I still participate in the Walk now that Dad is gone. The answer is simple. I continue to Walk because I am still alive. I Walk for me. I Walk for everyone I love. I Walk for those currently fighting the disease.
Nobody is immune from Alzheimer’s. It’s too late for my Dad, but it’s not too late for future generations!
To register your team, or to donate, please visit alz.org/walk
Northern Neck – Middle Peninsula: September 20th
Register/donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_NorthernNeck
Fredericksburg: September 27th
Register/donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_Fredericksburg
Tri-Cities: October 18th
Register/donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_TriCities
Richmond: October 18th
Register/donate at http://bit.ly/ALZ_Walk_GRVA