One of the best part of my job is the great people I have the pleasure and often the honor, to work with. So was the case a few weeks ago when Sara Pool, the terrific mother of two amazing teenage sons, contacted me.
Charlie and AJ Pool, speaking at an Alzheimer’s fundraiser
Sara explained that her boys, Charlie, 17 and AJ, 15, had been invited to speak in Boca Raton, Florida at a large Alzheimer’s fundraiser on January 31. This was a big deal! The boys already had their speech written, and Sara asked if I could help them with their “on stage” presence.
But this post isn’t about what I did for Charlie and AJ. It’s about what they did for me. At ages 9 and 11, Charlie and AJ’s grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s, came to live with them. And, at ages 9 and 11, their lives change forever. At ages 9 and 11, Charlie and AJ, along with their parents, also became caregivers for their grandmother.
As the boys and I worked together rehearsing their speech for the Alzheimer’s fundraiser, I learned about the three years of their life with their grandmother before she passed away. It was a time filled with unpredictable upsets, heartbreak, frustration, and stress. But, most of all, I heard about the extraordinary love and patience provided by two young boys.
Through Charlie and AJ, I learned there are more than 1.4 million kids in the United States who live with and help provide daily care for household members with a physical or mental disability. Their lives are impacted far beyond what most people realize.
Because of Charlie and AJ’s experience as caregivers, their family has launched Kids are Caregivers Too in association with The American Association of Caregiving Youth.
The purpose of their website is to advocate awareness, recognition, and support for the unique impact and needs of this often-overlooked population of young caregivers.
To hear and see Charlie and AJ tell their story at the Alzheimers’ fundraiser on January 31, watch the video here . I’m sure you will be as impressed and moved by these young men as much as I have been.