People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can’t help but feel hopeless. They can’t help but think that it’s already the end. And we can’t blame them. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative illness that affects a person’s behavior, memory and thinking. It is a progressive disease and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Because there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, getting this disease is more than devastating.
But it the story is quite different for Robert Ron, an 81 year old Alzheimer’s patient who, instead of allowing his illness take over his life, has decided to enroll in King’s University College in London, Ontario.
For Ron, making this decision was a positive move to not only keep his mind sharp, but to raise awareness and to inspire others who are fighting the same battle.
Robert shares with CTV News “Too many people, they get diagnosed with something like Alzheimer’s and they think somehow it’s the end,”
“Well, it’s not an end – it’s just a new beginning. It’s something you’ve got to work at. And actually, it’s a good thing because I was getting quite bored being retired! So this is all a new challenge for me.” He added.
Ron says taking classes in disability studies and political science has been a tremendous help to his condition. He shares how good it makes him feel and how it significantly helped improve his long term memory. His personal decision to use education to fight this terrible disease has gotten the support of his fellow students. The staff and the students around the school were also very kind to extend their assistance on the occasions when Ron would become disoriented around the university.
Ron is also an advocate of the Alzheimer Society of Canada and is the face of “Yes, I live with Dementia” campaign. He wants to take part in helping people become more knowledgeable of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia so that the “stigma that surrounds the disease can be reduced,” he says. He aims to pursue his education and graduate together with his peers. At the same time, he fervently hopes that other dementia patients would also take a positive step towards keeping the disease at bay and living the life they deserve.
Ron is just one of the many people out there who are suffering from terrible diseases like Alzheimer’s. But, unlike most people, he has chosen to embrace his condition with positivity. He has chosen to live his life with a purpose instead of letting the illness get the better of him. We may not be living the way Ron lives with Alzheimer’s but each one of us is fighting a battle of our own. His story is a perfect example of how we should face the circumstances we are given, whether they are good or bad. It’s an inspiration to keep going and to push even harder even when times get rough.
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