Idaho family fights Alzheimer's by creating memories

Posted at 10:17 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 11:44:04-04

Vicki Bates believes in building memories. She even retired early to spend more time with grandson CJ after the man she fell in love with, at just 19 years old, passed away. But it wasn't the first time Vicki had to say goodbye to her husband. “It's a nightmare. It's a nightmare. You don't lose the person one time. You lose them twice. So you have to grieve a second time," Vicki told 6 On Your Side’s Michelle Edmonds.

For the past decade, the Bates family watched helplessly as Alzheimer’s tightened its grip on their strong, kind patriarch. The cruel disease robs its victims of their memories. The Bates family, though, had a final precious moment. It’s a split second they will never forget. It’s when Grandpa Ron met the boy who will carry on his last name. Ron’s son J remembers, “Then there is that moment when he kissed him on the head. And I'm like, that just happened," he said.

Ron Bates died three days later. “That's the one thing he wanted most in life was to have that grandchild. I just wish he could have actually had him. So I'm going to make up for it," pledges Vicki.

The Bates are on a mission to keep talking and walking to end Alzheimer’s. They want to do this for Ron's legacy and perhaps even more importantly, for CJ’s future.