A family from NE, Ohio uses their mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s to find a cure

Following Adele Herzog’s death in 2018, her family is using her battle to create support and awareness for Alzheimer’s in her community.

CLEVELAND — One Northeast Ohio is making sure her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s will never be forgotten. The Herzog family is doing whatever it takes to keep their mother’s legacy alive while helping others get through the terrible disease.

Bill Herzog lost the love of his life in 2018 after a nearly decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s.

“With Alzheimer’s, death will eventually come … but the person will leave you before they die,” Bill said.

Bill says he’s had a blessed life with his beautiful Adele. The two met in high school and Bill was smitten when he first saw her walking the hallways.

“I was scared of her, I was scared of asking her out. She was too beautiful, there was no way she would date me,” Bill said.

However, a drive-in movie led to quite the love story. A real story where the two would get married and have three beautiful children, Julie, Bill and Jenna.

“She lit up the room, not only with her looks but her personality was number one. We had a great family life, the kids and I… all very close. We have three beautiful children,” said Bill.

“We had the kind of mom who would wake us up every morning, make breakfast, and get us ready for school,” Jenna said. “She was an amazing person.”

In 2007, at the age of 55, Adele was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. For the Herzog family, family is trumps. When it came to Adele’s diagnosis, it showed first-hand that the family had round-the-clock care for her.

“I always had hope that she would never be in pain, and she never physically was…she was in great shape, but unfortunately this illness takes away from your mental capacity,” Bill said. “It was hard. One day I came home from work after lunch and the house smelled of natural gas. The stove was on but the flame wasn’t burning and I knew then that it needed more attention.”

Bill retired early and quickly became his wife’s most important caregiver. He says the past few years have been difficult at times as caring is a 24-hour responsibility. The Alzheimer’s Association helped Bill on his way to taking care of Adele.

Lindsay Walker is National Director, Alzheimer’s Association Boards of Excellence. She understands the struggle of nursing all too well.

“Once you get into a support group and you meet others who are going through it … you really don’t understand what you’re going through until you’re actually going through it,” Walker said. “There is so much support from the club.”

There are 150,000 caregivers like Bill in Northeast Ohio, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Caring is a selfless act, and support groups and programs offered by the Alzheimer’s Association are free.

Adele died four years ago at the age of 64. Her family has never left her side.

“What I miss most about her is her laugh and smile, and I miss our conversations and time with her,” Jenna said. “I miss her every day.”

The Herzog family is using their struggle to bring support and awareness to their community. Bill is a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association and founded the Herzog Foundation after Adele’s death. In the summer of 2022, his foundation launched a Herzog Family Foundation golf outing that raised nearly $50,000 for Alzheimer’s research — all in memory of his Adele.

“I’ve had a blessed life with a great family and a great wife,” added Bill. “She’s been struck by this stupid disease and anything I can do to encourage more resources and provide resources for caregivers in that direction. It is important.”

If you would like to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association, Click here.