|Stefanie, Sarah, me and Michelle by the food trucks at the event|
Good bye rubber chicken dinners and hello food trucks, Pauly D, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Bruno Mars. Need I say more? Hilarity for Charity not only raised money for Alzheimer's, a disease that has recently touched my good friend Stefanie, but it was fun. The event was hip and cool, bringing awareness to an often times forgotten disease. Rogen, who's wife Laura Miller's family has been affected by the disease for multiple generations, hosted the event and wants the world to know that Alzheimer's isn't just a disease for "old people". In fact, according to the Alzheimer's Association website, it's estimated that nearly 200,000 Americans in their 40s and 50s have been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Stefanie's another one of my inspiring girlfriends. Check out her voice and donate to the Alzheimer's Association, every penny counts!
By Stefanie Paletz
By Stefanie Paletz
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." I am not a religious person, but I have held this prayer close to me for a very long time. My mom introduced it to me when I was young, during a time when I could not control my worrying. I needed to learn how to quiet the noise inside my head, to be still, and to trust that things have a way of working themselves out. Over the years I have turned to this prayer in times of need. Always for a different reason, but seeking the same advice - to distinctly separate what can and can't be controlled and to find acceptance. Never has this prayer carried more meaning for me than it does right now. My father is 64 years old and he was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer's at age 62. It was 2009 and I was 31 years old. Fear, sadness, pain and despair inhabited my soul and haven't left since. They have become all too familiar feelings. Acceptance, on the other hand, is still foreign. Why should I accept that this terrible disease has stricken my dad and my family? How can I accept that he won't know his own grandchildren? Or that my dad is no longer the same man that my mom married over 40 years ago? These are questions that I struggle with each day.
Prior to his Alzheimer's, my dad always knew about acceptance. He embodied it. He rarely challenged what life threw his way. he simply dealt with what is. Even now, this disease only allows him to focus on the present and to accept what is directly in front of him. It's ironic, yet oddly beautiful.
In this crazy, fast-paced world filled with tragedy, I hope to learn from his outlook on life and to accept the things I cannot change so that I can find peace.