To further find out “why support the Alzheimer's Association and its cause?” Jordan Gill, a senior here at ABAC who is also interning with the Alzheimer's Association, was asked to interview an individual with Alzheimer’s disease to help explain the reason for events such as the “Race to Remember” and the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's, which will be held at ABAC on September 28th.
Upon meeting Leon Bryan, he struck Gill first and foremost as a refined gentleman. He refused to be interviewed in his room because, “There’s no proper place for [her] to sit, ” and then described the idea of eating his lunch and being interviewed at the same time as being “unsatisfactory.” They made themselves comfortable in the living room section of Southern Care Assisted Living’s Memory Care wing in Tifton, where Bryan currently resides.
A native of Ashburn, Ga., Bryan spent most of his adult life in the major metropolitan areas of New York City and San Francisco. He is a 1951 graduate of Berry College in Rome, Ga., a former Navy seaman, and a former writer for United Press International in New York City in the 1950s and later in San Francisco. Bryan also worked in public relations for the world famous industrialist and shipbuilder, Henry J. Kaiser, who organized Kaiser Permanente health care for his workers and their families.
Asked about being a writer, Bryan was dismayed that it could be considered of interest to anyone, saying “It was hard work. You have to be very careful to get everything right.” He did say, “I stick by the saying the pen is mightier than the sword.” While Gill was intrigued by Bryan’s life as a writer, as a hopeful writer herself, he clearly didn’t want to say any more about it. She was also there to discuss his reason for returning to South Georgia.
First, he said uncertainly, “I suppose that’s where I am … South Georgia.” And then he began to discuss the disease that brought him back home. Leon Bryan suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, which he describes as a disease of the mind. He said, “It’s scary. You’re afraid you’re going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time … all the time.”
This fear and the difficulties that these individuals face are the reasons that we walk in the annual Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s and AGR hosts “A Race to Remember.” For questions about this year's barrel race, contact Nathan Dupree at (706)-260-7894.