Bikers ride for Nana

For 17-year-old Joslyn Castillo, nothing was quite as tasty as Nana's Salvadorian rice and bean dish and sweet fried plantains.

Nana, 65, spent hours in the kitchen, happily cooking meals for Joslyn and her family.

But six years ago, Nana's joy of cooking slowly diminished as she gradually began to lose her memory and struggle with dementia. Those days of savoring Nana's dishes have been reduced to distant memories for Joslyn.

"She couldn't even remember her recipes," Joslyn said.

Her once active Nana is now bed-ridden and doesn't speak. The effects of dementia on Nana have been devastating, she said.

Feeling desperate to help her Nana and other families struggling with Alzheimer's and dementia, Joslyn reached out to her father, Gilberto Castillo, to help organize the "Finding Nana's Cure" motorcycle ride Saturday to bring awareness to the disease.

Members of the Teamster Horsemen Motorcycle Assn. rode from the Harley Davidson of Glendale dealership to the Teamster Local 848 in Long Beach.

The ride's grand marshal, Emilio Rivera, who stared in the TV series Sons of Anarchy, led about 200 riders, some of whom had a personal connection to the illness.

Alzheimer's and dementia have been devastating to rider Chris McGee's family, who already suffered a death related to the illness.

"It's rough on family," McGee said.

His grandmother is battling the illness and can't fully speak, he said. His grandfather cares and feeds her.

Seeing his grandparents' struggle with the illness, he said, hurts.

In California, Alzheimer's was the fifth leading cause of death in 2010, according to a 2013 Alzheimer's Assn. Disease Facts and Figures report.

Commons signs of Alzheimer's include memory loss, misplacing items, making bad decisions, and withdrawal from family or social activities.

Patients may also experience vision and mood changes, confusing place and time and difficulties with writing, reading, planning and completing tasks, according to the association.

With the funds raised at the ride, two families will likely receive equipment and supplies, including a year-supply of personal care products and a wheelchair.

"I want to be able to do this for everybody," Joslyn said.


Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World