New Walk4ALZ team makes big impact

When Brigitte Galgut was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2015, it confirmed her family’s worst fears.

“I’d noticed some cognitive issues over the past several years…little things like having trouble figuring out a tip, or following a recipe,” her daughter, Tanya Miller, explained.

Brigette had the added complication of having Parkinson’s disease. Tanya had the added guilt of having moved from San Diego to Florida years earlier.

“I live so far away, what can I do? I felt helpless at first,” Tanya said. “One of my biggest anxieties of moving so far away was, what if something like this happened?”

More families like Tanya’s are needing support.

This time last year, there were 65,000 people with dementia in San Diego County. Now, that number has skyrocketed to 84,000 – in a large part due to better diagnostic tools, according to the latest county statistics.

But Tanya was able to find a few ways to make a difference. First, she started to flying out to San Diego every four to six weeks to help her step-father, Barry, with caregiving. Then, she had the brilliant idea to take over Brigette’s social calendar.

“My mom has a lot of friends, is very social, and is loved by so many people. Everyone wanted to keep visiting and seeing her (after she was diagnosed), but keeping a calendar for herself was challenging,” Tanya explained. “So now we keep the calendar for her. My wonderful step-father will give me all the doc appointments and other things to plug in, and in between we’ll set up time for people to hang out with my mom. I feel like I’m helping her by keeping her connected with all her friends.”

Tanya also created Team Beeba in honor of her mom, and walked at the annual Walk4ALZ at Balboa Park on Saturday, October 20. Together, the team raised an incredible $6,925! Donations are being accepted through mid-November.

Miller and her son, Ben, flew out from Florida to participate in the walk.

“When I found out I could make it, I was so excited! I said we’re going to make a team, make this a celebration,” Miller said. “It’s been a feel-good experience, and I have so much gratitude for everyone who’s come together in support of my mom.”