Why We Go Purple

Suzanne and her dad

I go PURPLE for my father. Before my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 65, he enjoyed life to its fullest.  He was passionate about running his business, playing and watching tennis, boating and spending time with family and friends. He was known for his sense of humor.   Alzheimer’s robbed our dad of all of that but more importantly, what would have been his greatest achievement in life, being a grandfather. My dad lost his battle 10 years later at the age of 75.  I miss him every day and will continue this fight until there is a cure for this insidious disease.  

Lara and her dad

I go PURPLE for my dad.  Four years ago, my kind, hardworking, and overall amazing dad was given an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  In that instant, life as we knew it changed – not only for my dad but for his loved ones. Like any other challenge, he faces this disease with courage, dignity and grace as the disease slowly chips away at his memory.  For 47 years, my dad has had my back and now it’s my turn. I joined Needham Goes Purple to fight for him and the millions of others living with Alzheimer’s. Together we can raise awareness and funds to find a cure so that no one else has to watch a loved one battle this horrific disease.     

Kate and her mom

I go PURPLE for my mother.  My mother was smart, funny and the center of our family.  Fifteen years ago, when my mother was just 72 years old, we started to notice that something was not right.  She seemed confused and unable to focus. Simple tasks like going to the store became a challenge. Receiving the diagnosis that my mother had dementia was devastating.  The reality of that diagnosis was even more so. It made no sense. How could a person that could juggle a million things and be there for everyone suddenly be unable to care for herself?  The sadness that I feel every day that my mother was robbed of being a grandmother to her five beautiful grandchildren fuels my desire to raise funds and awareness in hopes of ending Alzheimer’s and dementia in our lifetime.  I go purple in the hope that in the very near future when families receiving this diagnosis there is a chance to fight, survive and continue to live a productive life.  

Margie and her parents

I go PURPLE for my parents Miguel and Margarita Suarez. My dad was diagnosed 4 years ago with Alzheimer’s and sadly lost his battle on April 21, 2019. He fought hard like everything else in life but at the end he knew that it was time for him to rest.

My mom, who was diagnosed 7 years ago with cardiovascular dementia, continues to be not only a role model, but also a superhero, to our family.  Her super powers? A positive attitude, kindness of spirit and a bright smile that always makes everything better. I am an advocate for the disease and a volunteer on the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association and NGP. I know the first survivor is out there and I cannot wait to celebrate that moment!

Sandy and her dad

I go PURPLE for my dad. My dad taught my three sisters and I from an early age there was nothing we couldn’t do if we put our hearts and minds to it. He was our rock. He was an old-school journalist, who covered World War II as a young man out of high school and later became a reporter and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer, then the New York Times and he had a radio program in Atlantic City. He was a communicator for sure, and loved writing letters and even created a family newsletter, when we all lived in different locations. Alzheimer’s brought with it so many hard realities, not the least of which is when he struggled to communicate and those letters, which had always been so eloquent, became nearly impossible to understand. I would do anything to change that part of his life, so I go purple to honor the memory of a loving father who is always in my heart and to do my part in helping to find a cure.

Debbie and her mom

I go PURPLE for my mother. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s when she was 58 years old.  Unfortunately, she lived with with this terrible disease for 12 years. When she was diagnosed she was super active, travelling and loving life.  This terrible disease took her from us a good 5 years into her diagnosis. She survived for 7 more years, but she was not my mother, not the mom who raised me.  It was awful watching her progress through this disease. I’m fighting for everyone living with it, whether it’s you, a family member or friend. We need to fight for a cure!!

Elizabeth and her mom

I go PURPLE for my mother. I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011, at the age of 76 after a 9 year battle with the disease and so this is a cause near and dear to my heart. She was a woman who inspired positivity and exuded laughter at every opportunity. She found the joy in small things and knew how to appreciate life’s gifts, never taking anything for granted. She was a constant source of support and strength in facing challenges with optimism which is how she faced each day of her life with the disease.  We are ever grateful for the time we had with her, though, through our committed efforts, we hope for a day when this disease does not rob those we love of our time with them. 

Gabrielle and her mom 

I go PURPLE for my mom. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 9 years ago. The disease has slowly taken away the doting grandmother from her six grandchildren, the kind, witty and caring mother from her three children, the traveling companion for her husband of 52 years and the staunch political and social advocate from her community. We fight to keep those memories alive knowing she can’t. We fight so others don’t have to suffer through this tragic journey.

Rachel and her mom

I go PURPLE for my mom. Although my mom passed away 14 years ago at the age of 61, we really lost her three years before that, at age 58, when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I found this quote in a book which exemplifies how deeply she is missed always – “She is everywhere, in every moment, and also she’s in no one moment. She misses every single one of my moments and I’m not sure who that is harder for: me surviving here without her, or her without me, existing wherever she is.”

Jen and her mother-in-law

I go PURPLE for my mother-in-law. It breaks my heart to watch this disease take such an incredible toll over not only her but her husband and family who support her every day. The support and patience needed to just get through the day can be overwhelming at times.
Even though I watched two of my very close friends’ mothers pass away from Alzheimer’s disease, I am not sure I really appreciated the ripple effect of this disease on caretakers and loved ones until it hit close to home with my own extended family.
Being a part of Needham Goes Purple is empowering me to combat this terrible disease. The money that we are raising helps the Alzheimer’s Association address the critical need to find a cure, to continue to provide support to families going through this difficult journey and provide information on resources and research information on brain health.

Shelly and her mom

I go PURPLE for my mom, who lost her life to Alzheimer’s in 2018 at the age of 84. I also go PURPLE for my dad, who was her full-time caregiver. They both had such a zest for life and were at the center of our large extended family. My father was determined to keep my mom in her home throughout the progression of her disease. Over time anxiety, confusion and difficulty communicating made mom’s reliance on my father even greater. My father said it best: “I don’t understand why such a wonderful person, or anyone has to get Alzheimer’s.  It’s the cruelest thing anyone can have, and I feel so sad for Penny and helpless to do anything for her.  Sometimes she may know me or her family but each day she remembers less.  She doesn’t understand what’s going on with her mind.  Neither do I.”

Kathleen and her grandmother

I go PURPLE for my grandmother. In her mid-70s she started showing signs of dementia. It was devastating to me to watch her become increasingly confused and particularly difficult when she stopped remembering who I was. She was however lucky enough to know and remember several of her great grandchildren. Unfortunately, by the time her sixth great grandchild (our first child) was born, my grandmother could no longer communicate. I joined Needham Goes Purple with the hope that a cure will be found so that children can know and enjoy their great grandparents for generations to come.