In 2018, Les and Debbie Anderson of Minot danced into our hearts with their courage and optimism after Debbie was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
“She’s my best friend,” Les said.
Shortly after we met them, Debbie moved into an assisted living facility and despite the emotional toll, Les is motivated to remove the stigma and educate others.
“Debbie and I have been married for 51 years and I wanted to share what our life was like so that they would understand that again this isn’t this is not a disease just for old people it’s a disease for young vibrant healthy people,” he said.
And Les came up with a creative way to tell their story to kids in the region.
“What we do is these bracelets these Alzheimer’s bracelets we pass those out to all the students and we tell our story. And what I want them to do I want them to wear it for a short period of time and then pass it on to another young person,” he said.
Now Les is navigating this chapter of their story during the pandemic, which has impacted visits with Debbie normally consisting of meals together three times a day.
“I haven’t seen Debbie for quite a while and that’s difficult,” he said.
But through daily phone calls and FaceTimes, and handing out bracelets to each new person he meets Les just wants to inspire others.
“Everyone has difficult situations but how you react to those adversities defines your life,” Les said.
Les estimates he’s handed out about 8,000 bracelets over the years.