BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – After 20-years of marriage, one couple is now living each moment as if it’s their last as they fight the uphill battle of Alzheimer’s.
Alan and Mary Beth Beamer are quick to share they’ve been madly in love for more than 20 years, which makes caring for Alan in his final stages of Alzheimer’s even more difficult. Struggling to navigate his own home, Beamer’s been relying on the love and support from his wife as his condition worsens.
“When it first started I prayed that it wasn’t true and I ignored it,” said Beth Beamer. “And I ignored it, and then it didn’t go away and it kept getting worse, and worse. And it’s going to get worse and worse. And he still knows who I am, right?”
“Yes, you’re my girlfriend,” said Alan Beamer.
About three weeks ago, Alan was having a tough day, trying to grasp any sense of ‘normal’ during his daily struggle with the disease. So his wife took out her phone and started recording her husband as she asked him some questions before posting it to Facebook. The response quickly went viral, now touching the hearts of people all over the world.
“What do you want friends to know out there about Alzheimer’s?,” asked Mary Beth.
“They need to know that I’m the same old person, and I wish my friends could come up and talk to me like they did before,” said Alan Beamer. “Ya know, play and joke around.”
Alan said he feels like people are afraid of him, some have even stopped coming to their home. His wife’s viral video is to show other’s the reality of Alzheimers. She’s telling people not to be afraid, that the disease is not contagious. She hopes it will remind at least one person the importance of life.
The emotional video is constantly being shared through social media.
“He had over 12,000 friend requests,” said Mary Beth. “Ashton Kutcher put our video out on his Facebook. So today alone, we have had 63 friend requests.”
Three weeks have passed since their video went viral. Since then, Alan’s condition has quickly taken a turn for the worst. He’s having trouble articulating the words he would like to speak.
“We’ve gone through the stages were we could get coffee, can’t do that anymore,” said Mary Beth. “He can’t find the bathroom anymore, showering is an issue. But no matter how far apart he goes from me, no matter when he forgets me, the disease cannot take away our love. I’ll always remember the day I married him, the man he is and how much I love him.”
Mary Beth said hallucinations have become the norm for Alan, struggling to see what’s real and what’s not. But the love of his life has never missed a beat caring for Alan, for better or for worse.
You can help Alan by donating to his Gofundme page. A community even will be held January, 29th at his Alma-mater, Wyoming High School. The basketball team in honoring Alan by wearing warm-up jerseys at their Friday night game, donating any money raised to the Alzheimer’s association in finding a cure.