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Local couple shares mission to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s cure

TUCSON – November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and one couple is talking about their experience after their daughter was diagnosed with the disease at an early age.

“I try to hide my grief, but I can not,” said Florence Messer, in a poem she wrote about her daughter who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in 2016. “My heart still beats, but it is broken.”

Messer said that her family has no history of the disease, but it was her daughter, who was a pediatric hospitalist, that started noticing something wrong with her speech before she was diagnosed.

“We were just blown out of the water, shocked,” said Messer. “I kept thinking this diagnosis is wrong and it can’t be what is going to happen to somebody who is 48 years old.”

Two years later, she and her husband, Ross, said that their daughter had difficulty getting in the car, buckling a seat belt and going up and down the stairs or having conversations.

“I feel that people with Alzheimer’s can’t control their behavior because of the disease, but we can control our behavior and sometimes we need to slow down our conversations,” said Ross Messer, the father.

“As a parent, it is the hardest thing to go through to watch a child disappear before your eyes and you can’t fix it,” said Florence.

A Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday at Reid Park.

To register a team for the walk, click here. 

News 4 Tucson’s Priscilla Casper will be the emcee.

Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 4 p.m.

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