ADRIAN, Mich. (June 15, 2014) — Alzheimer’s disease is usually thought of as a disease that older people suffer from, but one family from Michigan began fighting the disease when the patient was just 30 years old..
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, someone develops the disease every 67 seconds. Now for the first time, the Dodson family in Adrian is opening up about their struggle as part of a series produced by Hollywood actress Lauren Miller-Rogen.
The goal of the documentary is to offer a glimpse into the everyday life of a young family, including Nikki and Ken Dodson and their three children, dealing with a very real disease that affects millions.
The Dodson’s story started almost six years ago, when life as they knew it changed. Ken was just a week away from turning 30 when he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, typically something more common for people in their 50s. But Ken’s story is becoming more common.
“We just started our lives,” said Nikki. “We had just built our house, and it was like, ‘Okay, where do we go from here?’ This is something you deal with when you’re retired and your mortgage is paid.”
The strength of the Dodson family is truly incredible. “We just take each day at a time. Thank God for the days that we get. What else are we going do? We look at it, and fight it head-on, or we let it defeat us. And I’m not about to let this disease beat our family.”
Film crews recently spent the day at the Dodson home in Adrian.
Lauren Miller-Rogen has been very active in the fight to raise money for research after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She testified in Washington DC and founded “Hilarity for Charity.”
“(The Dodson’s) story is so unique,” said Miller-Rogen. It is “invaluable” to show to show the world that Alzheimer’s can touch you when you’re young, she said.
More than 5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s and 170,000 families affected right here in Michigan.
Nikki is proud of Ken for letting the film makers into their lives. “This is a huge step for him. I think he’s at a point he understands how important it is to get the word out. Doing this documentary may not save him, but if it can save somebody else, we did our job.”
“We beat it. It didn’t beat us, we beat it,” Nikki said.
Learn more about the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this September in Grand Rapids.