- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Five-year old J.P. Goddard of Leonardtown misses his Pop Pop.
His grandfather was one of the more than 5.4 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
J.P.’s grandfather, John M. Wells of Clinton died Nov. 13, 2008 of Alzheimer’s, and now all that J.P. has is a photo of the two of them on his nightstand. His message is simple: “Other kids have their Pop Pops and I don’t, so love your Pop Pop all you can, while you can. You will miss him very much when he goes to live with God.”
J.P. is a two-time veteran of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s™. On Sept. 17 at Asbury~Solomons Island, he will be participating in his third walk in honor of his grandfather.
For his fifth birthday, J.P. received a Target gift card from one of his friends. Looking around at all the toys he already had, he told his mother, Rebecca, that he wanted to donate the gift card because the people who do the walk have to walk a long way and get very thirsty and need something to drink and he wanted to buy water.
Rebecca Goddard explains: “J.P. loved his Pop Pop very much and when he died he took it very hard. He has a photo of his Pop Pop in his bedroom and tells it goodnight almost every night. He and his Pop Pop got very close when he lived with us.”
Besides donating the gift card to purchase water for the walkers, J.P. has set a personal goal of raising $300. “I was so touched by his story,” stated Linda Gottfried, Director of the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter’s Southern Maryland office. “This little boy has a big heart.”
J.P. agrees that the world would be a better place without Alzheimer’s and he is supporting the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer’s so that other kids won’t have to lose their Pop Pops.
Alzheimer’s disease currently is the sixth-leading cause of death and the only cause of death among the top 10 causes in America without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. While death rates for most major chronic diseases continue to decline, Alzheimer’s continues to rise. Every 69 seconds someone develops this devastating disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association will hold two Walks in Southern Maryland on Saturday, September 17: one at Asbury~Solomons in Solomons and the other at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. In addition to the walk, participants will learn more about Alzheimer's disease, advocacy opportunities, clinical trial enrollment, and support programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association.
For more information on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, call 301-934-5856 or go to www.alz.org/nca