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Our family was forever changed when our mother, Sherry Wright, began to show alarming signs in February 2014. Those signs led to many doctors appointments, many questions, and eventually a diagnosis of Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD) in March 2015. At the young age of 51, our mother began to lose her independence and identity to this devastating disease.
FTD is one of many types of dementia, of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common. Regardless of the type, dementia causes a variety of symptoms that interfere with a person's daily function. An individual affected by dementia can experience impairments in cognition, behavior/personality, mood, speech, and muscular function. As these impairments grow increasingly severe, individuals with dementia often require around-the-clock care.
Our mother has always had a heart to care for others, especially in the medical field. She worked as a CNA for many years, over the course of which she took care of many patients with dementia. She enjoyed this line of work as it has always been in her nature to care for others.
She also cares very much for her family. As a loving mother, she was one of our greatest supporters over the years. From attending PTA meetings, to running down the first base fence line whenever Mike hit the ball, to influencing our career choices, she always provided an immense amount of support. She encouraged us to work hard at whatever we set our minds to do. For Tiffany, this was continuing her mother’s legacy by caring for others through her work as a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant. For Mike, this was baseball.
Baseball has always been a part of the Wright family. It all started in the backyard where we used to play baseball together as youngsters. One day, Mike decided that he wanted to become a major league baseball player. From this point forward, our mother cheered him on each step of the way as he worked towards achieving this dream. Around the time of her diagnosis, our mother began experiencing difficulty following the game. Now, she does not even recognize when Mike is on the field and often cheers at inappropriate times.
We have cared for our mother over the past five years, and we have watched her face additional challenges each passing week. It is heartbreaking to watch a loved one, who was once so independent, grow to require help with a task as simple as using a fork to eat. In the midst of all the trials, we do our best to love her through it and to enjoy the precious moments we share together, even if not with the mama we've always known.
In honor of our CARING mother, Sherry, we decided to use her story and our trials for the good of others. It is her inspiration that has driven us to establish the Wright State of Mind nonprofit organization. There is a huge need for dementia research used to develop potential treatment options and to discover a CURE for such a devastating disease. There is also a huge need for resources for those affected by dementia, as well as their caregivers. We believe that Wright State of Mind can help see to it that these needs are met.
We hope that you will join us in this journey to find a cure for dementia because TOGETHER we can make a difference!
Tiffany, Mike & Madison Wright
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