Greendale man suffering from Alzheimer's receives outpouring of support

Posted at 6:37 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 20:37:55-05

A Greendale man suffering from the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease is receiving an outpouring of support in the season of giving. It all started with a sweet tooth and a post on social media from his wife Deborah Harding.

"My husband has Alzheimer's. I usually do a lot of baking and sharing, this year has just been too hard,” Harding reads from the first line of her Facebook post on a community page.

It was a plea for kindness that didn’t come easy.

"I’m a retired school principal and you don’t just ask for help,” said Harding.

Her husband, Dan Johnson, loves sweets. It’s been a holiday tradition for Harding to fill his plate, but lately she’s been by his side every moment as he suffers from Alzheimer's. 

"Dan is the gentlest, the kindest, and the sweetest man I have ever known in my entire life,” said Harding.

Their painful journey got a little sweeter this week, as her post for home-baked goodies took off.

"I said I am willing to pay for all of your ingredients, even willing to pay for whatever you bring me,” she said.

Within hours, she received more than 100 comments, bringing strangers like Maggie Grossman of Glendale to their door free of charge.

"When I saw that cookies and fudge were in need I knew exactly who to call,” said Grossman.

Grossman was the sixth person to stop by with treats for Johnson. Others like Jerika Lemmer have provided meals, ran errands and shoveled their driveway. 

"I just really took a liking to her and Dan, and I’ve been in their life ever since on a daily basis,” said Lemmer.

At Johnson’s stage of Alzheimer’s, he’s become forgetful. While he might not remember these kind deeds, in the moment he’s making new friends on a daily basis.

"I’m very thankful and it’s amazing the generosity neighbors have. It’s keeping with the spirit of the season,” said Johnson.

Although many enter the couple’s home as strangers, they leave with something special. 

"It certainly makes the city feel a lot smaller. A lot tighter knit and it’s already a friendship,” said Grossman. 

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