I have a new name. "MikenoDanny".
When my Dad used to see me that is what he would call me. He still remembered me, but his illness caused him to mix up names. So he called me by my brother's name first then corrected himself. So I am now "Mike, no Danny."
My father has a new life.
Now Dad sees me and his face still lights up. He remembers that he should remember me, but where do I fit in all the memories swirling in his mind. Conversations once lively and quick now evolve more slowly. His beautiful mind stumbles over words, his comprehension diminished. He now lives in a Secure Living Unit. Trapped by locked doors and a horrible disease. He somehow has hung on to his love for life. He is proud that his children could make his new home resemble his old one. But still he asks why is he there? What did he do wrong?
A few days after moving to the unit, we were sitting quietly by the window. Both of us adjusting to the new pace of our conversation. Where ten words might take minutes. Thoughts struggling to come out. My dad looked out at the window. Then focused on me, deliberately, sadly he stated, "Alzheimer's has no cure." The great man he was and still is, he was not looking for sympathy, he was not reaching out for help, but telling me and himself that this is what is. Sadly deliberately I agreed with him. But I, not being the great man he is, am seeking sympathy, I am reaching out for help.
There is a hockey tournament in April. Some true NHL hockey heroes have volunteered their time to play among us amateurs in the effort to raise awareness and money to fight this horrible disease that affects so many lives. I am reaching out to you to sponsor me and to pass this email onto others that may donate.
I have a new enemy.
Help me beat it.
To make your sponsorship, please visit my personal donation page at
Mike, no Danny Burrell