Your Opinion: Alzheimer's group to honor volunteer

Dear Editor:

Recently the Alzheimer’s Association lost a dear friend and faithful supporter. Ted Distler began as a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association 10 years ago as a way to help others experiencing Alzheimer’s disease.

At age 49, Ted’s wife Norma was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, a rare form of the brain damaging illness that affects nearly 200,000 Americans today. This life-changing disease motivated Ted to help others and to advocate for those needing a voice.

Ted’s deep commitment to Norma and his need to help others led him to the Alzheimer’s Association Mid-Missouri Chapter where he became a leader in volunteerism, advocacy and support.

Ted joined a support group where he met others who had family members with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Though he came to help himself, he found over the years that he was able to help so many.

He later joined a support group called Men Emerging as Caregivers, a support group for men whose spouses have AD. He brought friends who needed assistance to the group to hear the discussion, experience the support, and to be uplifted.

Ted’s volunteerism never ended. When he felt he could positively impact a decision, he always made the call. That’s what brought Ted to the Missouri State Capitol each year where he met with legislators at Memory Day.

He would discuss issues affecting those with AD and urge their support. Those who knew Ted knew he didn’t take “no” for an answer; he was quite effective.

In order to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and support for the Alzheimer’s Association, Ted became a leader in Memory Walk, the nation’s leading fundraiser for Alzheimer’s disease. The event, now called Walk to End Alzheimer’s, unites the community in a movement to reclaim the future. Each year Ted formed a team of family and friends to raise funds and participate together at the Walk.

In light of his extraordinary support, the Alzheimer’s Association would like to recognize and remember Ted at Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Jefferson City at noon Sunday, Sept. 18, on the Missouri State Capitol grounds. All are invited to attend. To register, visit alz.org/mid-missouri.

If you are like Ted and want to help, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900. Whether you need assistance or are ready to help others, the Alzheimer’s Association hopes to hear from you.

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