NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — John and Mary Sevanick have been married for 55 years. Their marriage has been filled with love, laughter, and countless memories.
But those memories may soon fade for Mary, who is battling Alzheimer’s.
She was diagnosed five years ago, and the couple has shifted their lives to work with the disease. Every morning, a love note greets Mary with her breakfast.
But the couple isn’t letting this obstacle stop them from living. In fact, they’re treating it as a new adventure.
“It’s a new adventure in a way,” the couple said simultaneously. “In a weird sense …how wonderful this past few years has become,” John added.
While the diagnosis may seem grim to others, Mary said she wants to use it to help others.
“You’ve told me many times how that you, you say to me, ‘Well John, it may not help me, but it may help people after me, and that’s important to you,” he said to his wife.
One way she’s doing so is by partaking in clinical trials, which experts say is the key to finding answers to the disease.
“The only real way to combat Alzheimer’s disease, to fight this disease, is to have people volunteer for research,” said Kevin Manning, assistant professor at UConn Health. “If we can identify very early in the illness what’s going on in this person’s brain, maybe that could help with eventual treatment early identification.”
And while there may be no answer, the couple said they’re happy Mary can be a part of trying to find one.
“Just want to be a part of it all; you know, just to help it and help other people,” Mary said.
And the pair is just trying to enjoy the time they have left.
“Mary and I, for decades, would ride bikes together — separate bikes — and I’d have Mary in front of me all the time, and I love just watching her ride; enjoying the experience,” John said reminiscing.
“Well, for the last four, five years, you haven’t been able to ride with me,” he said to Mary.
Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
John and Mary haven’t let her diagnosis stop them; they’ve just found other ways to keep moving, which is why John ordered Mary a special bike so he can watch her enjoy the ride, just like they used to.
Currently, the Alzheimer’s Association is funding 500 research projects in 27 different countries. In Connecticut, the organization is funding $2.5 million in research.
Researchers are looking for people to take part in the clinical trials, specifically the connection between Alzheimer’s and major depression.