Skip to main content

Southlake Style

Grapevine Women Make Memories Despite Dad’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Sep 20, 2016 07:52AM ● By Audrey Sellers

Story submitted by Elizabeth Sehon Harris

On a hot July afternoon dressed in white lace wedding gowns, two sisters stood beside their father as the cameras flashed capturing what should’ve been a special day – but this photo shoot was unusual. There was no wedding date in sight, and as their father faced his daughters, they knew he didn’t understand the significance of the moment.

Twin sisters, Sarah and Becca Duncan, 23, of Grapevine knew that their much older father with Alzheimer’s disease, Scott Duncan, 80, may not be alive for their future wedding, so they decided to capture the poignant moment before it was lost forever.

“These are pretty much our only pictures with our dad for our wedding,” said Sarah Duncan, honorary co-chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Northeast Tarrant County. “It was very emotional, especially after we put on our dresses.”

A close friend to the family and professional photographer, Lindsey Rabon, said it was the most unusual request she ever received for a photo shoot, but knew it meant everything to the family.

“I knew it would be something they could have at their wedding to show that he’s with them, even if he’s not there,” Rabon said.

Although Scott Duncan is an older dad, the family never anticipated such a devastating disease to take their father away so early.

Scott Duncan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013 after his wife and children noticed unusual behavior.

“Mom noticed his forgetfulness and he had difficulty paying the bills – he was always the one in charge of our finances,” Sarah Duncan said. “He was acting childish and started fights about simple things like where to eat.”

After hearing the shocking news, the Duncan family sought advice from the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter and started attending their Friday group, a program for those with early-stage Alzheimer’s.

“The association is the biggest help for someone newly diagnosed and it helped my mom so much to have a place to go to when she needed answers,” Sarah Duncan said.

To regain a sense of control after their dad’s diagnosis, Becca Duncan said she and her sister decided to start a team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Northeast Tarrant County. This year will mark their third Walk and first year as Walk honorary co-chairs.

“Now that I’m an honorary co-chair for the Walk I get to do something I’ve always wanted – tell people my story and help out others,” she said. “When we first started, I saw what the Walk represented and really looked up to those who spoke about their experiences and now I get to do that - it means a lot to my family.”

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The North Central Texas Chapter covers a 40-county service area and Fort Worth serves as headquarters for the chapter, which has regional offices in Abilene, Waco and Wichita Falls.

The chapter is a nonprofit, donor-supported organization. The programs and services are made possible through contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations.