MODESTO (CBS13) – For the love of a game and love of a dear Stanislaus Senior Softball slugger, the team came out to play ball and to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“That’s my bro and this is what we do. This was his love and his passion and mine too,” said Geno Johnson who lost his brother in April.
It’s a park they’ve played in for decades, but in April, 74-year-old Gary Johnson wandered off, a devastating symptom of dementia.
“It’s a horrible disease,” said Mike Stout, captain of the team.
Four weeks later Gary’s body was spotted in the river.
“I love him, I miss him, and someday I’ll be with him again,” Geno said.
His brother and league are now trying to help other families diagnosed with the disease.
“It was nice to come out for Gary and honor Geno, there were several hundred people out here today,” Stout said Tuesday afternoon.
Hosted by senior awareness groups they learned there are ways to help track loved ones by either registering with companies online; even some law enforcement agencies offer the tracking device.
“If we had that microchip, I guess it’s like a GPS tracking device, maybe we would’ve hunted him down and found him before, you know,” Stout said.
The team has already started selling bracelets to raise money.
They promise to keep playing ball in Gary’s honor and spread the word there’s help out there.
“We want to know how we can help and all I can say to everyone, look at the people around you and don’t take dementia for granted,” Geno said.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers plenty of help for wanders either by using devices, special locks, and even database systems that can help you help your loved ones.
Unfortunately, Modesto doesn’t offer tracking devices and hopes to someday have the funds for such a program. Other agencies do, take Oak Dale for an example.
For more information and help out there, head to http://www.alz.org