Kate’s Family Story: Early-Onset Alzheimer’s

Over a decade ago, I had the opportunity to get to know a remarkable, lovely young woman named Kate Preskenis. Like me, she grew up in the North Country, went to St. Lawrence University, graduated… and then our experiences diverged. I’ll let Kate explain what happened to her, in her own words:

“After graduating from St. Lawrence University, my days changed drastically from pursuing social and environmental justice, to mitigating the chaotic world of my mother’s genetically inherited Alzheimer’s disease, to ultimately grappling with my own genetic status.

Journaling since I could write, I charted my emotions, relationships, and experiences. Then, the early death of my parents combined with the innovative capability of gene testing led me to value and share this unique documented history.”

Kate has written a book about her family’s experience – “The Gene Guillotine: A Memoir of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s” – and is in the process of self-publishing it. I am in awe of her strength and courage, and believe – as she does – that sharing this story will help other individuals who find themselves in similar situations.

As the year ends, the holiday season continues, and a new year begins, we often reflect…and perhaps feel alone. Learning of Kate’s project today reminded me of the value of being able to share our experiences, our talents, and our hope with each other. The NCPR News team has done its part to help tell these stories (I’m thinking at the moment of Brian Mann’s amazing series, “The Hospice Path,” (http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/pages/series-the-hospice-path) but there are many other examples), as have so many other public radio programs. I am thankful today for the brave people who agree to tell their stories, and for the countless others who ensure that those stories are made available to all.

I wanted to do my small part and share Kate’s story with you. To learn more about Kate, and her book, you can visit her project website: www.katepreskenis.com.

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