Society Life June 2015 : Page 54

family. It was so hard to be a stranger to her every time I visited. My sister, who lived in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico took the brunt of the chal-lenges. My sister was the only daughter and lived only a few miles from her. She quit her job and with her husband, took my mother into her home. It was extremely challenging for them to care for her. My sister cared for her full-time for 10 years. I was living in Texas as a single dad raising two teenage sons, and I would visit her as often as I could. Unfortunately, at the time, we didn’t know much about the disease. Every day was a new challenge to figure out how best to care for her. SL: How did your mother endure the challenges imposed by the disease? JG: She regressed slowly for a number of years and during that time she would become very frustrated. I knew something was wrong because she would repeat herself on the phone each time I called. Sud-denly, she declined quickly to a point where she became merely a shell of a person. She couldn’t express her feelings or thoughts any longer— much less care for herself. SL: What areas of Alzheimer’s support could have been better? JG: This is why I’m so pas-sionate about my foundation—this is exactly where my foundation focuses its efforts. It would have helped us so much to know what my mother was thinking and feeling, and possibly learn ways to make her more comfortable. If we had better access to information about what happens to people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, possibly we would have made better or different decisions. Caregiver support and medical care in Puerto Rico is completely different than on the U.S. mainland. There wasn’t anything com-parable in the little island town of Santa Isabel. SL: When did you decide to establish your foun-dation? JG: Through participating in various charity fundraisers all over the DFW area, I noticed there were no charities benefiting family members or caregivers who endure and sacrifice so much as a result of Alzheimer’s. My friend, Tom Puckett, who coordinates golf tournaments for many different foundations, encouraged me to start my own foundation and pursue my passion to help those families and caregivers. This was in March of 2011. SL: Twenty-five years ago, as a major leaguer, would you have ever believed that you would be so substantially dedicated to such a worthy cause? JG: Honestly, no, but I always knew I wanted to give back and help in some way. It took finding something I was extremely passion-ate about and where there was a great need. When you’re young and focused on your career you don’t always look that far into the future. At Reading R eading Friends summer sum mmer camps, , w e focus f ocus on de v elop ping, we developing, your child’s maintaining, , and enriching y our child’ s skills in the ar eas of r eading g, , language, language , areas reading, art math , science, math, science , and ar t with activities that incorporate our w eek l y themes! weekly JUNE 9-11 9-11—We —W We e Ar Are e Famil Family y JUN E 16-18 —Locomotion JUNE 16-18—Locomotion JUN E 23-25 —Stars and Stripes Stripe s JUNE 23-25—Stars JU LY L Y 14-16—Creatures 14-16 —Cr eatur es in the Sea JULY JU LY L Y 21-23—The 21-23 —The Great Gr eat Outd oors JULY Outdoors JU LY L Y 28-30—Texas 28-30 —T Texas Our Texas T exas JULY Now enrolling for the 2015-2016 school year and Summer Camp Reading F Friends r iends of K Keller eller Ages 2-Kinder 2-Kindergarten -Kinder gar ten Open: : Monda Monday-Friday a y-Fr ida y 9am-1pm 141 Quest Ct. (B (Behind Behind K Keystone eystone Church) marshawesley@readingfriends.org mar sha aw w esley@readingfr y@readingfr iends.or g All camps ar are e 9am-12pm CALL AND REGISTER REGIS TER T OD A AY! Y! TODAY! 817 562-5333 5 www.readingfriends.org www .r r eadi eadingfr ingfr iends.or rg g 54 JUNE 2015 | SocietyLifeMag.com

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