Local man to host memorial picnic for mom who suffered from dementia

They say the bond between mother and son lasts a lifetime, and in the case of a Western New York man who is putting together a special memorial event for his mother, it certainly does.

“The world lost a caring, smart, creative, and overall wonderful person far too soon,” said Ryan Welch, who sadly lost his mother and best friend, Denise, to dementia last October.

According to recent statistics, dementia is the fifth leading cause of death among elderly people in the United States. However, dementias aren’t exclusive to the elderly and approximately five percent of cases affect those who are 65 and younger. This is considered to be early onset. Denise Welch was one of those people who was diagnosed with a form of dementia way before her 65th birthday.

After months of medical appointments, various imaging procedures and cognitive testing, Denise was diagnosed with early onset Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) in June of 2015. FTD is typically a fast progressing form of dementia and this was the case with Denise.

“While her health continued to decline, she was always willing to help in any capacity that she could and be the best mother to me as possible. Dementia greatly limited my mom of her ability to do the things that she once loved such as baking, sewing, arts and crafts, going on long walks with her beloved Jack Russell Terrier named Ziggy, and visiting the Amish in the Conewango Valley,” said Ryan.

Ryan is now holding a memorial picnic in his mother’s honor 11 a.m. Saturday. June 16 at Chestnut Ridge Park. The event will be held at Shelter 29c. As part of the picnic there will be a basket raffle with all proceeds benefitting the WNY Alzheimer’s Association and Hospice Buffalo.

“The event is free to attend to everyone and anyone and is meant as a way to celebrate my mom’s life  and to support two fantastic organizations that are fighting the good fight and helping those in need,” said Ryan.

For more information or to find out how you can help, visit the event’s Facebook page.

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