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Linda Barber tells her ‘Why I Walk’ story

For almost a decade, Linda Barber has represented family members and her mom, Roberta Dzwonkowski or ‘Bobby D,’ in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. 

“I walk every year in honor of her,” Barber said. “I am a caregiver myself and have to walk through those issues with care needs, the cost and toll it takes on families.”

Barber’s mom was diagnosed 20 years ago at the age of 69. Since then, she has been the primary caregiver and financial provider for her mom. 

“When it started to progress substantially, we moved her into a nursing home,” Barber said. “For several years, I have walked or even participated as chair of the walk.” 

Through her mother’s fight with the disease, Barber has had to make several sacrifices including financial ones. Barber recently took a new job working in Atlanta with better pay to help fund her mother’s care. 

“She gets full-time care now,” Barber said. “I would love to bring her home, but we get moments every now and then of good days.”

Barber makes the trip multiple times through the week to visit with Bobby D. 

“It has been a long journey, and she is almost 90-years-old now, so it was a slow, gradual decline,” Barber said. 

Barber attributes her long fight with the disease with her mom’s stubbornness. 

“There is no one quite like Bobby D,” Barber said. “She was born in Brooklyn and you never know what you’re going to get with her. Kind of like the Forrest Gump candy.” 

On Bobby D’s better days, Barber said that she will recognize her as her daughter, and they can share some laughs. 

“She’ll laugh and try to have a conversation with you. She’s there laughing and just happy to see you,” Barber said. “They are far and few, but when you get them they are awesome.” 

Before Bobby D progressed further into the disease, the two would go out for lunch one a week but now the two enjoy walks around the nursing home facility. 

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in LaGrange will held on Sept. 14 at Vernon Woods Retirement Community. To register for the walk, donate or volunteer go to http://act.alz.org. 

“I really encourage people to help use raise funds for research to help prolong their lives,” Barber said. “It is a devastating disease that a lot of people have to deal with.”