E93’s Kenya Cabine and his mother Rebecca share the tightest of bonds. But when this former high school principal went from forgetfulness to more serious episodes, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s was delivered by phone and Cabine recalls his first response to the devastating diagnosis.
“Oh, OK. You know, so what kind of pill are you going to give us so we can get rid of it? And they said, ‘No, your mom… she’ll always have it. This will be her life. This is it and you need to be prepared for your mother not to know who you are.’ And, I just broke down. That’s my heart. That’s my heart. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have anyone that I could talk to about it. And I did some research and I found the Alzheimer’s Association.”
Deborah Heddendorf of the Alzheimer’s Association of Coastal Georgia says the organization gets lots of calls like the one Cabine made- as someone is diagnosed with the disease every sixty-seven seconds.
“And we explain and we try to help them understand what’s going to happen and we also try to educate them on how to best take care of themselves while they’re caring for their loved ones. Because, unfortunately, they stop caring for themselves while doing that,” Heddendorf says.
It can be easy to get lost in the care because most witness the worst kind of thievery, as Alzheimer’s steals memories first and eventually steals the body’s ability to function. Cabine will dance the night away to raise money and awareness.
“I tell you I am so blessed to have my mother,” Cabine says. “My mother is alive. My mother is alive and my mother is well. And my mom… she still knows who I am. She still knows who I am and that was always going to be my biggest fear — that she would never recognize me. That she wouldn’t know who I am. But I know by the way she looks at me that she knows who I am… and I’m happy with that. I’m really… I’m good with that. “
Anyone with questions about Alzheimer’s and the resources available to help families cope with this crippling, terminal illness, can call 800-272-3900, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and speak with a live counselor.
Dancing Stars of Coastal Georgia
Friday, June 5
Savannah International Trade & Convention Center
Cocktails: 6 pm
Dinner: 7 pm
Show: 8 pm (WSAV Kim Gusby, emcee)
Cast your vote and make a donation here: www.dancingstarsofcoastalgeorgia.com