News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

May 27, 2013

MAX JONES: A Memorial Day tribute in boatman’s wake

God bless Bruce Borror.

Not only has the West Lafayette man been navigating a 300-mile stretch of the Wabash River with its Asian carp and insufferable gnats, he is raising awareness about a disease most people have never heard of.

Borror’s story was told in last Monday’s Tribune-Star by reporter Lisa Trigg, who interviewed the riverboat pilot on Sunday when he made a stop at Fairbanks Park.

What motivated him to  make this trek is the fact that his dad is suffering from a disease known as Lewy Body Dementia, a debilitating condition with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s, but with its own set of peculiarities. Borror’s dad, Maury, and grandfather, Harold, built the 14-foot boat being used for the excursion in the early 1950s. It seemed like a good tribute to his dad, who now lives in Indianapolis, and as a way to raise awareness about Lewy Body.

While more people do indeed need to be aware of the disease and help medical researchers find betters ways to treat it, Lewy Body Dementia is no stranger to me or my family. My mother was diagnosed with the disease and was afflicted with many of its symptoms before she passed away in 2006.

I’d never heard of it when doctors first told us that Lewy Body Dementia was most likely the cause of our mom’s mental and physical problems. But there was at least some sense of relief knowing what it was that had caused so many changes in our mom and affected her quality of life.

Dementia is scary and intimidating. But it is a common affliction for the elderly. It takes many forms and has a variety of names. Lewy Body Dementia alone is said to affect 1.3 million people and their families in the United States.

It was always Mom’s nature to react to adversity with grace and class, so it was no surprise that she handled her own battle with declining health in the same way. I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to deal with her symptoms. But even at their worst, she managed to exude to those closest to her the angelic quality that defined her personality.

She and my late father raised a close-knit and loving family. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude to them for that. As her health deteriorated, my wonderful brothers and sisters teamed up to give her the undivided attention and care she deserved.

I appreciate that a riverboat pilot from West Lafayette saw fit to dedicate a trip down the Wabash to his dad, and in doing so raise awareness about this disease that’s affected both our families.

So on this Memorial Day, I will dedicate this column to my deceased mother, Marcella Jones, and encourage readers to learn more about the disease, and what they can do to help, through the Lewy Body Dementia Association, www.lbda.org.

God bless Mom.

God bless Bruce Borror.

Jones can be reached at 812-231-4336, or by email at max.jones@tribstar.com. Follow him on Twitter, @TribStarMax.

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