Eight years ago, my father-in-law, my best buddy, my hero, Salvatore Cavalieri, was released from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. I remember Sal being a huge NY Yankee fan and not only being able to name everybody in the starting line up, but rattle off with ease their batting average, and their cigar preferences. Sadly, I also vividly recall Sal trying to brush his teeth with a fork.
I remember Sal with his vast knowledge of gardening and how he would delight in explaining how various soil qualities, pinching and pruning, staking or caging produced the best tomato plants in town. I also remember Sal not being quite sure how to work that tool called a ‘shovel.’
Sal adored his family and put them all on the highest of pedestals. I always admired him for that. But then my heart sunk to my ankles the day he could only reference Michele as ‘his daughter.’
Welcome to the world of Alzheimer’s.
Michele and I were caregivers for Sal in our home for several years so can speak firsthand to the demands of 24/7 care. No one should have to end an otherwise dignified life in this manner. Sal, please know one thing: we will do everything in our power to make sure the awareness level is raised and that someday, we may finally be able to utter – heck, yell – the word ‘cure.’
On February 10th we will, once again, be diving headfirst into the fight against Alzheimer’s disease at Berean Lake in Highland. We strongly encourage your participation. Seriously, I’m not jumping in ice-cold water in February without you there to see it.
Know this: this is a day for fun, frolicking and fundraising for a very serious cause. Mark the date: February 10th. Think of a tailgate party minus that tedious football game. The tents are pitched, the grills are fired up, beach balls fill the air and the hot tub salesmen are salivating. Every single year is better than the one before and every single year, I get out of the water saying the exact same thing: “For the love of God, who’s got my beer?”
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about the event.
- Q) Do we have to jump in the lake to actually help out?
- A) No, you big sissy. You can register as a sidekick and assist your chosen
‘Hero,’ by handing her towels, slathering his hot dog with mustard,
raising money and, in general, offering words of encouragement.
- Q) How many people show up for this event?
- A) Last year, we had over 150 jumpers (Heroes) and 700 people assisting
from the safe haven of dry land.
- Q) How is the jumping order determined?
- A) The person with the most money raised jumps first followed in
- Q) I’m a virile man and I’m concerned about shrinkage. What should I do?
- A) Seriously? Buy a Corvette!
- Q) How can I join a team?
- A) You can join an existing team or start your own team for someone you
know who has suffered from Alzheimer’s. Get more information at:
- Q) Okay, I’ll do it. What should I wear?
- A) Anything you’d like. I have seen more costumes on this day than on Halloween. I’m partial to the speedo, but only because I don’t need a Corvette!
- Q) What is the name of your team?
- A) Team Sal, for my father-in-law, Salvatore. Feel free to sign up or donate in his memory – or in honor of someone you love – at subzeroheroes.org.
This is one of my favorite days of the year and I think once you join us, in some capacity, you’ll agree. I hope you can spread the word and together we can work hard, never give up and ultimately silence Alzheimer’s disease. Hey, c’mon, what’s a little shrinkage anyway?