By Jason Perry
2018 Dancing Star of Atlanta & Alzheimer’s Association Volunteer
I want to ask you to use your imagination for a moment…imagine a young lady with a difficult childhood. Imagine a young man raised by his mother, as his father passed away when he was very young. Imagine these two people meeting in school and becoming high school sweethearts with a common dream. Imagine these two starting from very humble beginnings, barely able to make ends meet, but wanting a family of their own….a family that they would pour their hearts and souls into…a family that would have the father he didn’t have….and a family that would always be encouraging, supporting, and loving.
Imagine these two people:
- Having four children of their own
- Encouraging these children to be extremely active in sports, as they recognized that sports provided many life lessons, including how to win, how to lose, how to support your teammate, but most importantly, how to persevere.
- Serving as coaches and team mom, and rarely missing a sporting activity of their children
- Loving and investing in their children continuously
- Providing the picturesque family experience they had dreamt about many years ago
- Preparing for and looking forward to their golden years after watching each of their four children graduate high school, graduate college, and get married.
Imagine, as they approach their golden years and look forward to fulfilling the next chapter of their dreams, the dad starts to notice something is “off” with his wife. And try to imagine….in 2012, at the age of 57, his wife of 37 years being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s ….a disease that mentally debilitates the victim and emotionally debilitates the caregivers.
This is the story of my family, and more specifically, my parents Rick and Martha. My mother is 1 of 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. My father is 1 of 15 million Americans that provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. In 2012, time spent researching travel destinations was replaced with time spent researching this devastating disease….looking for treatments…..looking for clinical trials….anything to provide an inkling of hope.
As mom battles this disease with steadfast resolve and her never-quit attitude, dad continues to live his marriage vows daily…he actively demonstrates what true love and dedication is, and continues to be a role model to his children and grandchildren.
I dance for my mom. I dance for the 16 million Americans that are expected to have Alzheimer’s in 2050. I dance for my dad. I dance for all the caregivers who experience immeasurable pain and sorrow seeing their loved one deteriorate. I dance so that victims of this disease and their caregivers can continue to have hope. And lastly, I dance so that my children will live in a world rid of this disease. I ask you to “dance” with me by providing support for this quest.
Jason Perry is one of the eleven Dancing Stars of Atlanta who are raising money by gaining votes.
Dancing Stars of Atlanta is fundraising event is composed of local Atlantan celebrity dancers paired with professional dancers, all raising funds by gaining votes in a one-night, gala dance competition.
This fun-filled evening lets you experience the glamour of ballroom dancing while voting ($1 = 1 vote) for your favorite pair and listening to feedback from a panel of local celebrity judges! At the end of the night, here are two winners – People’s Choice Award for the couple with the highest fundraising total and Judge’s Choice Award for the couple who receives the highest judge’s score.
Funds raised goes toward Alzheimer’s care, support and research with the Alzheimer’s Association.
To learn more or to vote for your favorite Dancing Stars of Atlanta, visit dancingstarsofatlanta.com.