Happy Birthday, Coach!

In just one week, this precious boy turns 47…

IMG_5144IMG_5145IMG_5148

On that same day, these two youngsters mark 23 years of marriage…

P and A wedding

To say that we are blessed is such an understatement, it’s truly laughable; we have more than we could ever want nor ever need!!

So what do you get a guy who has it all…perfect wife (Don’t tell him I said that!), utterly amazing kids, the most fun career, and a wealth of totally incredible friends and family??

Clothes and shoes come with the job.  Electronics and toys aren’t really his thing.  Gadgets and gizmos?  Those are definitely out!

In the end, there is only way I can think of to celebrate his very special day:

An end to Alzheimer’s.

If I could give him that today, I would in a heartbeat. I can hardly imagine his joy to hear Nana say his name just one more time.

Sadly, I can’t even guarantee him that gift next Friday.

But I – no, WE – can make strides and take steps towards him receiving that unbelievable gift in the future.

So, for Coach’s birthday – and our anniversary – I’m honoring him with a donation to his #Walk2ENDALZ participant page: http://act.alz.org/goto/CoachMonty

“Birthday-fundraising-in-lieu-of-gifts-and-cards” is all the rage these days, so I have also set up a link on Facebook in hopes that if you’d like to honor Philip in some small way, you will join me:

PJ FB jpeg

Your love and generosity will be on his mind when he blows out the candles on December 21st, and your support will make for one “helluva” great wish come true!

Thanks for celebrating with us!!

Love and hugs,
Ashli

 

 

$5 Fridays are Here

Studies show that givers receive more than they give.

Furthermore, research proves that helping others releases endorphins into our bodies that put us in a good mood and make us happy.

Common sense tells me that we all look forward to the weekend.

Therefore – and facilitated by my superior skills in conditional statements and deductive reasoning – I am going to improve your weekend.

Right now.

On Friday.

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Or 50 of them?

That’s just $5…less than a cup of coffee-to-go…cheaper than a ticket to the movies…about the same as a couple of games downloaded to your phone.

I challenge everyone one I know to kick start their weekend by sharing $5.

Right now.

Yes, in this moment, click this link: Share $5

Receive by giving.

And in turn bring joy into your world, thus making the next 60 hours even more euphoric than the typical Friday-Night-to-Monday-Morning-Alarm-Clock time span.

Come on, you can do it!

Today – November 16, 2018, and for our very first $5 FRIDAY – I am asking everyone to share $5 to support my friend, Page Cole, who needs our help to earn a $25,000 (!!!) bonus donation to benefit our Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraising efforts.

** We are just under our $1 Million Goal, and this bonus can push us over the top!

Again, here is the link to help me help him

which helps further Alzheimer’s care and research

which helps the 5.5 million Americans diagnosed with this horrid disease

which helps the 15 million Americans serving as unpaid caregivers

which helps ease the 18.2 billion hours of caregiving they provide:

www.TulsaWalk.org and click the big, yellow donate button.

Please, will you join me?

Thank you, precious friends, and here’s to a joyful, happy, beautiful weekend!!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS: Friends, I walked through the steps above, and it took me less than 60 seconds from start to finish…quick and painless 😉

And since it takes almost no time at all, will you also “like and share” to your sphere as well?

xoxox, A.

Still Trying

I’m not going to lie, this one is going to be tough to write.

But if it reaches even one person, then it will have been worth writing.

Next week, author Lisa Genova will be in Tulsa to speak at two events: at the 5th annual AWARE (Alliance of Women for Alzheimer’s Research and Education) Luncheon and as a guest of Tulsa Town Hall. I am elated that I have the opportunity to attend both.

She wrote a book called Still Alice. It’s a beautiful, albeit heartbreaking, story. It’s one I’ve had on my bookshelf for some time now, but it’s one that I put off reading time and again because I knew it, too, would be tough to get through.

The story is about a highly capable, wonderfully strong, and incredibly smart woman who is diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease just as she turns 50. And although the book is fiction, Genova’s research and explanations of a most horrific process are spot on and 100% true.

I’m not ignorant of the phases of Alzheimer’s. In fact, I thrive on educating others about the disease, the key signs to watch for, how to understand the disease, and most importantly, what we as a country can do to fight it.

AWARE Luncheon, November 2016

Healthy Aging Presentation at Montereau, September 2018

Tulsa #Walk2ENDALZ, September 2018

When I give public speeches about Alzheimer’s Disease, I always share my story and my multiple connections with it, and I give my why:

I lost my Grandma Syble to Alzheimer’s just as Philip lost his grandmother to it, and now we are watching his mom, Sandra, suffer and decline from it as well. I am raising awareness and advocating to end ALZ so that my children will know a world without Alzheimer’s.

Doesn’t that sound good? It’s well-rehearsed, very open, completely honest, and straight from the heart.

Here’s the truth.

Here is what reading (and watching the movie based on the book) Still Alice revealed to me…

My why is much, much more selfish than I realized.

The real reason I have to stop this disease is actually all about me.

That doesn’t make me proud.

But at the heart of the matter, I am scared to death of this disease. I am more afraid of an ALZ diagnosis than any other health concern that I can imagine. And I have tried. I’ve thought through them, I’ve Googled, I’ve researched, and I’ve tried to imagine. But Alzheimer’s Disease is still at the top of my fear list. I live in absolute terror that one day I will begin to recognize those 10 signs that I teach others to watch for in their loved ones.

I can’t get this disease. I can’t handle it. I just can’t endure what it does.

And I don’t mean what it will do to me. I mean what will happen because of me.

It’s what it will do to Philip. And what I can’t put him through. Again.

At the back of the book, in the author’s notes, Lisa Genova says that she wrote the story from Alice’s perspective because she felt it was important to keep the focus on her as the person diagnosed and living with EOAD. But as I read, and as I watched, what kept initiating wave after wave of body-wracking sobs was what the diagnosis, the process, and the prognosis were doing to Alice’s husband, John, and the world they had spent their lives building. Together.

Like I said, this story is fiction, but it is 100% real.

All I could see was what my getting this disease would do to my Coach – the heart-racing, butterfly-inducing, ultimate love of my life.

He witnessed it as a child watching his grandmother deteriorate and die. He lives it every day as a caregiver to his mom who was his true first love.

I simply can’t put him through it again.

He’s a provider and a protector.

He takes care of me; he takes care of everyone.

He’s not perfect. And neither am I. But we are perfect for one another, and together we have a life that is better than a dream come true and a love that is more powerful than a fairytale. I’m not sufficiently gifted with words to adequately explain it, but we feel it.

We couldn’t function without the other; it’s just the way we are.

If I could no longer be his Ashli, the impatient, over-zealous, jumps-to-conclusions, never-finishes-a-project, loves-too-big, talks-too-loud, over-committing, bulldozing, smart but silly, capable but dependent, creative, crafty, book and numbers nerd that he fell in love with, it would devastate and destroy us both. It certainly would not be my fault, but I would be ruining what we have built together. And I think that would break me, actually shatter me into pieces too small to salvage.

I would tell him to go on with his life, his calling, and his ambitions. But he wouldn’t. His character would not allow for a choice in the matter. So, I – through the disease – would be killing us both.

I can’t do that. I just can’t.

So, although most days I don’t feel as though I make much of a difference, I am still trying.

The more we do at the grass-roots level, the more volume we give to our collective voice. As our voice grows, attention is garnered and awareness is raised. It becomes a priority for more people, so the government becomes interested. That’s when the ball really gets rolling.

The government then invests in the research that is showing promise. The projects that were started with grants and gifts can now be funded on a grander scale by the NIH. Without the financial support at the entry level (which often comes from the Alzheimer’s Association), those trials don’t get off the ground. In other words, we MUST raise funds at the local level to promote new ideas for attacking this disease so that we can find a way to treat – and someday cure – ALZ.

If you’ve already given to my 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraising campaign, THANK YOU! I appreciate you so very much!!

Which makes this especially hard to ask, but would you be able to do just a little more? Another $5, $10, or $20?

If you haven’t had an opportunity yet to donate, will you please do a little something now?

I have until December 31st to raise funds for this year, and then, yes, I’ll start asking again for next. It’s excruciatingly difficult for me to continually ask for money, but reading and watching Still Alice, reaffirms for me and honestly depicts the impact we can make through support of the Alzheimer’s Association. I am truly honored to be part of an organization that helped make the book publication, the movie production, and the sharing of accurate information possible.

If you haven’t made it through Still Alice yet, grab some more tissues and keep at it.

It’s tough, but it’s worth it.

Just like we are…tough, but worth it.

So, we’ll keep walking, keep talking, keep raising, and keep trying to #ENDALZ.

With love and hugs,
Ashli

Me and Coach…

 

My Morning at Montereau

Two years ago I was trained as a Volunteer Speaker for the Alzheimer’s Association.  I am credentialed to present two formal presentations: “The Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease” and “Know the 10 Signs of ALZ.”  Both of these are 60-minutes long and have slides and videos and graphics to coordinate.

I more often give personal presentations where I kick off Walk to End Alzheimer’s teams, give our personal story, and share updates about research, caregiving, and statistics.  These are my favorite!

Maybe it taps into my inner teacher, or maybe I am simply a spotlight hound, but I LOVE being in front of a group of people, telling what I know about this heartbreaking disease, educating on the ways we can fight it, and sharing why we must have hope to end it.

This morning I was honored to speak to a fabulous group at Montereau, right here in Tulsa.

As part of their annual Active Aging Week, I was invited to talk about our journey with Alzheimer’s and explain why Coach and I work so hard to support the Walk to End ALZ.

I specifically wanted to talk about and touch upon a few things:

  • The difference in “normal forgetfulness” versus signs of ALZ
  • My method for understanding ALZ and how it attacks the brain
  • Why active, healthy aging is our only defense against ALZ…for now!
  • The importance of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

I tend to shoot from the hip and get caught up in my telling, but I think we hit all 4 issues.

At least a little 😉

And then I got enjoy my very favorite part: meeting and greeting everyone after a beautiful group picture:

We had a great morning, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to share my message and encourage support for my mission.  Thank you, Montereau!!

If you would like to schedule an ALZ presentation, a lunch-and-learn, an info night, or even just a casual “coffee and conversation” for a few friends, I would be thrilled to speak.  Or even better, the Alzheimer’s Association can send one of the much more knowledgable presenters who will knock your socks off!  Just give them a call at 800-272-3900 to get the ball rolling.

Let me know how I can help!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS: Speaking of rolling balls, we are still working hard to obtain and surpass the fundraising goal for our 2018 Tulsa Walk to End ALZ.  If you have not yet had an opportunity, please click here to make a donation, and THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us so generously!!  Together we can – and we will – #ENDALZ!

 

A Kiss from Momma Monty

I have a fabulous habit of over-thinking, over-doing, and over-explaining.

So, today I am going to…

#1.  Save the Date: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2018 is all about busting our butts to save our brains…

#2.  You need to register for the Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s, so click here or go to www.TulsaWalk.org – email, call, or text me if you need help.

*** You receive a FREE FOOTBALL GAME TICKET just for registering to participate, so be sure to register your kids and family, too.

#3.  Next you need to order your game t-shirt TODAY.  Again, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO ORDER so click here or go to epiapparel.com/tul022 and ignore the “student/homeroom” part on the order page.  Shirts are only $10, and we NEED YOUR HELP PAINTING THE STADIUM PURPLE, so please go get one (or two or several).

#4.  SELF-DONATE or RAISE $10 (or more!!) to EARN a TAILGATING TICKET WHICH INCLUDES FREE BREAKFAST AND FREE LUNCH.  If you need help, please reach out – I would LOVE to help you make a difference in the fight to #ENDALZ

#5.  Be at the University of Tulsa, Chapman Commons by 9 am on September 15th…be part of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s…eat a free breakfast…learn about how we can create a world without ALZ…play a bunch of games…let the kids run through the fountains and hop through the inflatables…hangout and tailgate with friends and family…eat a free lunch…listen to awesome bands with the “Cain’s on Chapman” concert series…put on your purple TU shirt…use your free game ticket…watch pre-game…be ready for kickoff at 6 pm…and cheer our Golden Hurricane on to victory!!

As my Angel Girl likes to say, “easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy” 😉

Holler with any questions – I am here to help: MrsMommaMonty@gmail.com

With love and hugs and a KISS,

Ashli

2018 TU ALZ Game Shirt (front)

2018 TU ALZ Game Shirt (back)

My New Favorite Book

I wasn’t always slated for Alzheimer’s advocacy.

In fact, back in 2008 – after watching a CSI: New York marathon on TV…for ten school days straight…and doing very, very little else – I went back to school for my master’s degree.

In 2010, I graduated from the University of North Texas with a Master of Science in Information Sciences (a.k.a., a librarian’s degree) with graduate certificates in Youth Librarianship and Storytelling.

IMG_1786.JPG.jpeg

I chose these areas of study because I wanted to gain some expertise in something I love.

You see, I knew that Coach hoped to someday be a head football coach at the college level which provides a small, yet potentially impactful platform to create positive change in the team’s community.  And then, when I looked inside my heart and my pretend crystal ball, I saw a deep passion for children and an obsessive love for reading.

Since that decision, Alzheimer’s Disease has attacked our family.  Because we refuse to go down quietly, my public platform has taken on a life of its own.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m happy and proud and honored to shout “WE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY MUST END ALZHEIMER’S” from the rooftops every singe day.  You see, me and Coach, we are determined to help create a world without this horrific disease.

But I do still love children, I do still read obsessively, and putting it all together, I do still adore children’s books!!

Today, at Reasor’s (the Oklahoma version of HEB for all my Texas peeps), I bought my new favorite book:

Daisy-Head Mayzie by Dr. Seuss

FullSizeRender.jpg-5.jpeg

The title and it’s similarity to my Angel Girl, Maci, grabbed my attention.  On top of that, I could not understand how I have never heard of this Dr. Seuss tale.  Obviously, I had to have it.

And now I love it!

The story is precious, about a beautiful little girl who discovers something different about herself, has to deal with the fallout when everyone panics over her being different, and then realizes that she’s lovable and valued and proud to be herself [and grow daisies on her head] after all.

FullSizeRender.jpg-4.jpeg

But the main reason that it’s my new favorite is because just before bed my Coach and my Angel Girl stood by my side and looked over my shoulder while I read this book aloud to them.  No phones in the room to distract, no TV’s with which to compete, just the three of us standing in the kitchen while I read Dr. Seuss out loud.

For me, that was a perfect moment.

The icing on the cake is the historical information about Mayzie and Dr. Seuss at the end of the book…which explains why I had not ever heard of this treasure.

FullSizeRender.jpg-6.jpeg

The sprinkles on top of the icing on top of the cake?  I get to read it all over again.

To my SonShine!

The next time he is home 🙂

Yes, he is now 20 years old.

Yes, he’s a big, strong, rough and tough football player.

Yes, he’s an uber-busy college student.

But he’s listened to me read 100’s of books out loud, and he’s a good sport, and he’s the world’s best son, so I know – just as Coach and Angel Girl did tonight – he will indulge me with this one: my new favorite book!

Love and hugs,

Ashli

*  PS: please click here if you would like to support my efforts to #END ALZ –

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  A.

There’s an App for That

Many months ago – like 7 of them! – I was invited to join the #WalkiePosse team on the Charity Miles app to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

FullSizeRender.jpg-2.jpeg

I downloaded the app, set up my profile, and that’s as far as I got.

FullSizeRender.jpg-1

Yes, I am sad to confess that I contributed exactly ZERO of my team’s 12,745 total miles.  Which means that my 78 team members are responsible for approximately $3,186.25 in donations to the Alzheimer’s Association while I was responsible for ZILCH 😦

But today, I started walking.

And I liked it!

IMG_0390

(That is the actual beach in Hawaii where I walked today.  Not a bad site for a stroll!)

The app is a free download, and the donations are made by sponsors such as Brooks Running, Johnson & Johnson, Walgreens, Garmin, and many more.

All it takes is tapping <Start Workout> when beginning a walk, run, or bicycle ride. (That’s the part that it took me so ridiculously long to remember to actually do – grrrr!)

And then press the <Finish> button when the work is done.

If you walk your dog, jog for exercise, or bike for fun, please consider joining our team: #WALKIEPOSSE to help #ENDALZ.  Or start your own team to support causes that are near and dear to you.

How fun that there’s an app for that!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS: I also truly believe that I should receive triple credit for today’s workout as walking in the surf was 3x more difficult than the normal walk around the block…just saying!!

FullSizeRender.jpg.jpeg

How can I help?

How can I help?

This seems like such an innocent question, right??

It is always asked with the best of intentions from someone who would not be asking if they did not mean it.

And yet…I realized over the last year that it is often a tough question to answer.

That epiphany has put me on a quest for what I call a “tangible call to action.”

Anyone who is currently serving on a board, committee, or planning panel with me is very likely already sick to death of me saying “tangible call to action,” but I’m not giving up anytime soon.

I believe that if we are accepting assistance – and I can NOT survive without it! – then the person offering that assistance deserves a clear, concise response that includes a tangible call to action.

First of all, not providing a tangible call to action is disrespectful of the gift of a person’s time.  Without specific directives, one can not lend a helping hand, thus offering to do so is a waste of everyone’s time.  Harsh, but TRUE.

Secondly, many people simply want to serve as a worker bee.  They do not want to share in the big picture, the vision, or the scope of a project; they simply want to do a little manual labor to lighten the load, feel a sense of accomplishment, and move on with their day their life.  They can only accomplish this if they’ve received a tangible call to action.  Seriously, I can’t expect someone to DO anything if I can’t tell them what needs to be DONE!

Lastly, if committee members, helpers, and volunteers do not have a checklist – a tangible call to action – which can be physically checked off as they go, then they feel unwanted, unneeded, and unnecessary.  As the leader of the group, I know that is far, far from the truth, but if I have not given out the tools needed to work with me, then that is the message I have sent.  And just like an accidental email, that message is out there forever.  I cannot take it back.

Sooooo…I’m putting my rantings into reality.

Last year, many – as in NUMEROUS – wonderful friends, neighbors, acquaintances, co-workers, and family members asked how they could help as Coach and I chaired the 2017 Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Sadly, I did not have a quick reply, a workable answer, nor a tangible call to action.

Because I was unprepared to lead them, their offer fell on deaf ears, and while some hung around to enjoy the event for themselves, many others felt unwanted, unneeded, and unnecessary which means they moved on to other endeavors.

Well, I do WANT help, NEED help, and REQUIRE help to make this year’s event what it should be!!

I’ll be doing a much better job of providing specific – and tangible – calls to action, and here is my first:

vol invite tulsa.jpg

Please join me for our 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Volunteer Kick Off Party which is coming up on April 12th. It’s from 6-8:30 in the evening at the Hardesty Regional Library – Pecan Meeting Room (8316 E. 93rd Street). When you asked how to help last year, we didn’t have great answers. This year we are working to make that an easier process.

The planning committee “leads” will be on hand to share their “piece of the pie” in producing the Walk.  Perhaps you are passionate about outreach, possibly you could help us organize recruiting and awareness events, maybe you’d like to assist with the logistics on Walk day…whatever your flavor, however much time and energy you are able to contribute, you can find the perfect place to serve.

You’re not committing to anything by attending the kickoff, so please come on out if you can!!

For more information and to RSVP for the orientation, contact Rebekah at the Alzheimer’s Association Tulsa Office: 918-392-5000 or via email at readams@alz.org.

Of course, you can always reach out to me, too, and I promise to have a ready response which includes a tangible call to action 😉

See you on the 12th!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

Spring Break 2018

Spring Break 2018 was truly a great one!

Me and Coach and the kids enjoyed a positively perfect week of relaxing family time…

We made it to Spring Training for our Houston Astros:

FullSizeRender-8.jpg

IMG_8508.JPG

IMG_8510.JPG

IMG_8476.JPG

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

We spent some quality time on the beach, which included reading:

FullSizeRender.jpg

FullSizeRender 9.jpg

And practicing a little yoga:

IMG_8098.JPG

FullSizeRender 4.jpg

And, of course, playing some catch:

FullSizeRender 7.jpg

FullSizeRender 8.jpg

We didn’t set a morning alarm for 5 straight days, and we spent the evenings playing cards, enjoying movies, and simply slowing down for a few minutes to take a deep breath and enjoy being together as a family.

Meanwhile, the Alzheimer’s Association was having quite a week itself, both in Washington as well as in Oklahoma…

  • Oklahoma HJR 2014, a resolution presented to the House by Representative Cyndi Munson and to the Senate by Senator Ervin Yen​ was passed by both the Oklahoma House and Senate declaring Alzheimer’s a Public Health Crisis in Oklahoma.  This may seem like a small step, but in actuality it’s a big leap in the right direction!
  • Oklahoma HB 2514 has been approved by the Floor Leader, Senator Greg Treat, to move to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for consideration. This is the bill that I was advocating to get passed when I spent a day at the capital in OKC.  That day we witnessed government in action as Representative Cyndi Munson and Senator Ervin Yen introduced the bill, and it passed the House vote with flying colors.  Now it will move to committee and from there to the state Senate for final vote…#VoteYESonHB2514

IMG_8586.PNG

  • On Tuesday, March 20th, the Alzheimer’s Association released their 2018 Facts and Figures.  This annual report is an update on where we stand in fighting this disease, and while the death toll and diagnosis rates have only gone up, knowledge is power; therefore, it is critically important that we read, understand, and share all we know…#Every65Seconds.
  • On Wednesday, March 21st, the U.S. Congress, in its final appropriations negotiations for fiscal year 2018, included a $414 million increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research in its spending plan for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and today, Friday, March 23rd, it was finalized and signed into law.  Oklahomans should be very proud of Representative Tom Cole who is a major voice on our behalf, one of our very best national advocates to #endALZ, and a driving force behind this historic budget victory.  This brings annual research funding to $1.8 billion which is knocking on the door of the $2 billion per year that scientists have said is necessary to eliminate this disease.  Please, please take 30 seconds to thank your congressional representatives for supporting this critical funding bill:  Click here to send an email of thanks.
  • Last – but certainly not least – the Alzheimer’s Association is very excited to announce that another one of our priorities — Kevin and Avonte’s Law — has been signed into law. Kevin and Avonte’s Law reauthorizes the Missing Americans Alert Program to help local law enforcement officials quickly identify people with Alzheimer’s who wander and reunite them with their families.

ALZ blog pic.jpg

If you are already receiving Alzheimer’s updates and information, I am sure you’ve been grinning at your inbox just like I have this week.  If you aren’t getting the updates, please join AIM, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.  It involves only a $20 annual membership fee, and we need you as a member.  The greater the number who join, the clearer the message to Congress that America deserves and demands that we as a nation properly care for those living with Alzheimer’s, that we actively support their caregivers, and that we make finding treatments and then a cure a top priority.

Well, friends, I will step off my soapbox and leave you with my heartfelt hope that you, too, have had a fabulous Spring Break 2018…and maybe a few ocean outtakes 😉

IMG_8369.JPG

FullSizeRender 5.jpg

IMG_8272 2.JPG

IMG_8283 2.JPG

IMG_8258.JPG

IMG_8461.JPG

IMG_8467.JPG

Love and hugs,

Ashli

Turning 43

This week I shall turn 43.

IMG_5496.jpg

It ain’t pretty.

Spanx have become a staple.

The white glistens in my hair within about 20 minutes of dying it dark.

I’m drooping, sagging, and flopping in places that one should never droop, sag, nor flop.

Sometimes, when I walk past a mirror, I do not even recognize that the reflection is me.  Don’t even get me started on if I accidentally walk past a mirror unclothed!

I have only one ovary, just one functioning knee, and at least one trip to the restroom per night.

My eyes have been repaired, and my uterus has been removed.

My esthetician is on speed dial, I use my eye cream religiously, and I am not above miracle cures for sun spots and wrinkles.

Its true: I am not going down with much grace.

But I am going down with a fight.

I am doing everything possible to retain the health of my body as well as my brain…

I continue my yoga practice and attend a class at Barre 3 as much as my schedule and knee allow.

I strive to eat healthy and have studied and learned enough about my nutrition that when I do splurge, it is my decision and a conscience choice.

I cook and clean and read and sew and stay active, and I get plenty of sleep each week.

I say my prayers, count my blessings, and sing praises for this amazing life which I have been gifted.

I advocate and work towards a world without Alzheimer’s so that I may remember this life until its end.  And so that my children may enjoy the final years that we are together.

One way in which I am making a different in the fight against Alzheimer’s is with my membership in the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.  I have written once before about AIM, so I will not rehash the who, what, and how, but I will revisit the why…

To begin, you need to know the basic process for affecting large-scale medical advancement in America:

-> Local events educate small groups who begin to share what they have learned which becomes part of regional conversation.

-> The small groups and those concerned across the country unite to become a large, national voice.

-> Elected officials hear the large voice and become aware of broad-based concern through advocacy efforts.

-> Legislators fund impactful research.

-> High level, innovative, creative, and critical research paves the way to treatment and cures.

Over the past 50 years, this process has provided major developments in the treatment and survival of cancer, breast health, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS though political action groups and advocacy organizations.

It is imperative that this process now take hold in the battle to end Alzheimer’s Disease, and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement is the platform that will get it done.

There is strength in numbers.  The work that AIM has done in conjunction with local efforts through the Alzheimer’s Association has procured big budget gains in ALZ research through the NIH over the past few years.  The greater our numbers, the louder our voice, the louder our voice, the stronger the pressure, the stronger the pressure, the more likely legislators are to support, the more supportive the legislators, the more that gets approved, the more that gets approved, the bigger the steps forward, the bigger the steps forward, the sooner we have some way – some chance – of fighting this disease.

Sadly, we are still terribly underfunded and way, way behind.

So, here is my birthday wish:

Help me celebrate my birthday.

I ask that you take a quick 5 minutes and just $20, and please use this link to join AIM with me: AIM Membership Referral.

It is an annual membership, so I will be sure to remind you to renew next year…

You know, when I turn 44 and hopefully have no additional “signs of aging” to report 😉

With love and hugs,

Ashli (age 42 + 362 days)

Scan 6.jpg

Scan 5.jpg

Scan 7.jpg

Scan 4.jpg