Christiansburg man takes Alzheimer’s walk today to honor “the smartest, hottest Southern Belle”

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A Walk to End Alzheimer’s is being held today, Oct. 5, in Blacksburg, and Tom Grieve is using it as a way to honor his wife, Celia. She began showing symptoms of dementia at age 63 while she was working as a manager at Wells Fargo.

Grieve said of his wife she was “From my perspective, using the language of the day, the hottest, loveliest, sexiest, smartest Southern Belle ever. We have three college-educated kids with no debt and seven grandchildren, and we traveled the country and parts of the world together.”

Celia also, he said, “has a plethora of uncles, aunts and cousins in her family tree who have encountered Alzheimer’s. Most were in their 70’s before showing signs of the disease. Celia’s Mom died at 79 from complications with Alzheimer’s, but it was not noticeable until she was 72. Therefore, when her boss at Wells Fargo called me when Celia was 63 and told me she was not remembering instructions and couldn’t manage her employees, I was astonished. Wells Fargo wanted her to take early retirement rather than be demoted after many years of great reviews and promotions. ”

Celia now lives at Warm Hearth Village, and Tom is walking with the Warm Hearth team Saturday.

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. On Walk day, participants will honor those affected by Alzheimer’s disease with Promise Flowers during the poignant Promise Garden Ceremony. This is a moving display of hope to represent the personal reasons participants join together to fight Alzheimer’s. Participants can join a team or register to walk as an individual at alz.org/walk.

In Virginia alone, there are more than 150,000 people living with the disease and 465,000 caregivers.  In the United States, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in and the only disease among the top 10 causes that cannot be cured, prevented or even slowed. Additionally, more than 15 million family and friends provide care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.