'Sandy's Superheroes' Share Story Of Early-Onset Alzheimer's - New York News

'Sandy's Superheroes' Share Story Of Early-Onset Alzheimer's

Posted: Updated:

On the ninth and 10th of November, Citizens Bank Park was filled with walkers doing their part to help end Alzheimer's. While many picture the elderly when thinking of the disease and its devastating effects, there is a different picture that some of those walkers see.

"Would have never thought when I was younger that my two sisters would get something like this," reflects Debbie Palek.

The "something" that Debbie Palek is talking about is early-on-set Alzheimer's.

"My older sister passed away 10 years ago," she says. "My younger sister passed away two and a half years ago…early onset Alzheimer's."

Debbie's little sister Sandy was just 48. She was diagnosed in her late 30s, at a time when she should have been enjoying her husband and young kids and not dealing with what a lot of people consider an "old person's disease."

"You start to see some signs of memory loss and forgetfulness…also sometimes just this stare that they had," recalls Palek.

"My mom would forget a lot of stuff. I feel like there are other little quirks that you can pick up on but nothing I feel like can be explained; just seen," Sandy's daughter Christine recalls.

Just months after Sandy's death, her family decided to walk to bring attention to the often overlooked part of Alzheimer's.

"I think that if more people are aware that younger people do get it today. The percentage is low, but it's there," she says.

Sandy's now 21 year old daughter Christine led the charge.

"I randomly decided to get everything together. I started raising money right after the funeral, started getting people together. That was our biggest year…" she recalls.

Sunday, 11/10 was the family's third year taking part in the walk to end Alzheimer's. Their team was "Sandy's Superheroes."

"I felt like it hit home a lot more. People started coming out of the woodwork and coming and now we're a big team every year, about 60 people," said Christine.

"Finding a cure is the biggest thing, I think, finding a cure for Alzheimer's and especially early-onset," said Palek.

As they walk, Sandy's Superheroes do more than just raise money for research, they tell Sandy's story, so others know what to watch for.

"If they are in their late 30's, 40's, they could be dealing with it," said Palek. "We didn't realize that's what it really could be. I don't think of Alzheimer's as a young person, I think that's the key."

Debbie Palek has been tested and she says that she doesn't have early-onset Alzheimer's like her sisters did.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Jolie, Pitt wed in Chateau Miraval, France

    Jolie, Pitt wed in Chateau Miraval, France

    Thursday, August 28 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:00:15 GMT
    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in Chateau Miraval, France, says a spokesman for the couple.Jolie and Pitt wed Saturday in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends. 
    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in Chateau Miraval, France, says a spokesman for the couple.Jolie and Pitt wed Saturday in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends. 
  • More Comfortable

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:39 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:39:28 GMT

    Cooler and drier air moves in today but the heat and humidity return for the second half of the holiday weekend.

    A cold front came through last night meaning cooler, less humid air is moving in for Thursday.  Mostly sunny skies and winds gusting to 25mph are also expected today.  Friday starts off very cool and also features a pleasant afternoon.

     The holiday weekend is looking warmer and unsettled. Shower and thunderstorm chances increaselate Sunday and Labor Day.

  • 8 piping plover chicks fledged in Del. state park

    8 piping plover chicks fledged in Del. state park

    Wildlife officials say eight piping plover chicks fledged this season at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.
    Wildlife officials say eight piping plover chicks fledged this season at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Sister of Boston bomb suspect arrested

    Sister of Boston bomb suspect arrested

    Thursday, August 28 2014 9:15 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:15:04 GMT
    The NYPD arrested Ailina Tsarnaeva, the sister of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, for allegedly threatening to bomb a New York City woman, a police official confirmed. Tsarnaeva, of North Bergen, N.J., is accused of calling a woman Monday and warning her to stay away from her and her boyfriend.
    The NYPD arrested Ailina Tsarnaeva, the sister of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, for allegedly threatening to bomb a New York City woman, a police official confirmed. Tsarnaeva, of North Bergen, N.J., is accused of calling a woman Monday and warning her to stay away from her and her boyfriend.
  • Poll shows most New Yorkers support broken windows policy

    Poll shows most New Yorkers support broken windows policy

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:07 AM EDT2014-08-28 12:07:14 GMT

    A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found overwhelming opposition to the way the arrest of Eric Garner was handled while the majority support the broken windows policy, which cracks down on low-level crimes to prevent bigger ones from occurring. Garner's death has brought the policy into the spotlight. The Staten Island man had been selling untaxed cigarettes when he was arrested. A police officer placed him in a chokehold and Garner died.

    A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found overwhelming opposition to the way the arrest of Eric Garner was handled while the majority support the broken windows policy, which cracks down on low-level crimes to prevent bigger ones from occurring. Garner's death has brought the policy into the spotlight. The Staten Island man had been selling untaxed cigarettes when he was arrested. A police officer placed him in a chokehold and Garner died.

  • Times Square named as target

    Al Qaeda magazine hints of looming attack on US

    Al Qaeda magazine hints of looming attack on US

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:42 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:42:37 GMT
    A new English-language Al Qaeda magazine features a how-to article on making car bombs and suggests terror targets in the United States, including casinos in Las Vegas, oil tankers and Times Square.
    A new English-language Al Qaeda magazine features a how-to article on making car bombs and suggests terror targets in the United States, including casinos in Las Vegas, oil tankers and Times Square.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices