Reality TV Star Ashlee White: “I hope to shed some light on how devastating Alzheimer’s is; I’ve felt alone, it’s an awful feeling; I open up with my story so others don’t feel alone”

I’m amazed by how many people are touched by Alzheimer’s and how many young caregivers there are. I have never heard such intimate details of what a caregiver and patient with Alzheimer’s goes through so I open up with my story so others don’t feel alone. I’ve felt alone, it’s an awful feeling. I hope […]

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I’m amazed by how many people are touched by Alzheimer’s and how many young caregivers there are. I have never heard such intimate details of what a caregiver and patient with Alzheimer’s goes through so I open up with my story so others don’t feel alone. I’ve felt alone, it’s an awful feeling. I hope to shed some light on how devastating Alzheimer’s is.

I had the pleasure to interview Ashlee White. 36-year-old Ashlee, who previously starred on Bravo TV’s “Princesses: Long Island,” can discuss and dissect WWE with the best of them and credits her positive attitude, family, friends, and the WWE with helping her overcome the challenges she faced during her medical setbacks — which includes a lupus diagnosis and three strokes. Since then, this “Paul Heyman Girl” has hit the ground running in her stilettos (designer, of course!) as a TV personality, blogger, social media influencer, motivational speaker, and philanthropist. Ashlee shares her story and uses her voice to help and inspire others. In addition, she’s very active with several organizations that help promote heart health awareness, raise money for lupus research and created a platform for fellow caregivers of Alzheimer’s sufferers. She currently sits on the Long Island Heart Ball Committee for the American Heart Association, was the Survivor Speaker at the 2013 Heart Ball, as well as for the S.L.E Lupus Foundation 2014 event. She’s appeared on “Good Day New York” and “Steve Harvey,” and looks forward to doing more television in the future. Most of all, she loves connecting with her fans across her social media platforms. She can be seen ring-side at every WWE show she can attend, and is now being noticed by fellow WWE fans. Ashlee has also struck up friendships with some of the talent who are inspired by her story — and her obsessive and well- documented love of pizza! Ashlee is just getting started — her podcast, “Wrestling in Heels with Ashlee White,” will debut in the upcoming months.

Thank you so much for joining us Ashlee! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific path?

I became a caregiver in 2014 when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. My grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s but I didn’t know much about it. He lived in Florida and I wasn’t around it so I didn’t know that much about it. Once she got the diagnosis, the Google searches began and I educated myself about the disease and how to care for someone with the disease. Once I read about what Alzheimer’s entails, I knew my life would never be the same, my family’s lives would never be the same. Our main focus was my mom.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began advocating for Alzheimer’s Awareness?

I’m amazed by how many people are touched by Alzheimer’s and how many young caregivers there are. I have never heard such intimate details of what a caregiver and patient with Alzheimer’s goes through so I open up with my story so others don’t feel alone. I’ve felt alone, it’s an awful feeling. I hope to shed some light on how devastating Alzheimer’s is.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first started? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There isn’t anything funny when it comes to Alzheimer’s but I can tell you that you have to forgive yourself with any mistakes that you have made. I constantly remind myself that I’m doing the very best I can.

Can you describe how you are making a significant social impact?

I constantly talk about Alzheimer’s and open up with my story. I talk in depth about this disease and how it’s affected my mom and family. Spreading awareness creates a huge impact for others that are caregivers and suffering with Alzheimer’s. The more you know the more you can help.

Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted this cause?

My family has been impacted by Alzheimer’s. My mom was diagnosed in 2014 and the symptoms were rapid. In 2017 my mom got to a point where she needed 24/7 supervision so my younger sister, Amber, and I dropped everything we were doing to be full time caregivers which is a 24/7 commitment.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

  1. Spread awareness — help educate about the disease
  2. Help cover the costs of care from A to Z including medicines, therapy (mental and physical) and caregiving.
  3. Raise funds to find a cure and explore new therapies.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

To me, being a leader means inspiring other to be a better person, to follow their dreams, to educate themselves more, and to believe in themselves by their own actions and examples. A true, natural leader is someone who doesn’t focus on the word leader, they focus on helping others reach their goals while also reaching their goal.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Ways to get help. The Alzheimer’s hotline, how to find an aide, how to find a support group, find a therapist that deals with the type of stress a caregiver is under. I wish someone fully directed us and not just generally told us what to do.
  2. How to’s. How to answer difficult questions an Alzheimer’s patient may have, how to deal with the difficult times, how to make their false reality your reality, how to get inside their heads, and how to better help someone with Alzheimer’s.
  3. What caregiving entails. What being a 24/7 caregiver really means?
  4. That close friends and family have a tendency to walk away when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
  5. I wish I heard more people talking about this disease

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m going to make a movement using my story and brave mother as an example. I want to use it to get more funding for healthcare since Alzheimer’s is one of the most expensive diseases to treat and care for.

I’m in the process of writing a book. It’s a how-to book for caregivers. I will be writing not only about my experience with this disease but things that worked for me. How to answer difficult questions that a person with Alzheimer’s will ask, what to do in certain rough situations, how to cope, how to take a break when your mind can’t fully escape the situation, and a lot more.

My family has been documenting our journey with Alzheimer’s. We hope to turn it into a movie to really show what this devastating this disease is and why it’s so devastating. We will share our story of heartache, persevere and love.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There are two people kinds of people in the world. One that needs a caregiver and one that is a caregiver. That’s just life. It’s relevant to my life in that people don’t understand what I go through as a caregiver. They don’t take the time to understand. A lot of my “friends” have been “out of sight, out of mind” friends. The amount of people that have walked away from my family is mind boggling. I’m talking about my mom’s friends, and her side of the family, my father’s side of the family, my sister’s friends, my friends. It beyond hurtful because my mom was the type of person that was ALWAYS there for everyone. (I say was because she can’t physically do it anymore). My mom would send cards to everyone that was having a bad day, sick, needed a smile, and for their kids’ birthdays. She never cared that they didn’t send to us, her kids. My mom’s sister is the ONLY one that’s been beside my family through everything. She stocks our fridge because we are too tired and busy to think of that. She makes sure we have everything to celebrate every holiday with, including food. We didn’t even realize it was Thanksgiving… we only realized it when she asked if we were going to be home because all the food will be delivered. We were just going to order pizza. Having one person is more than most and we are incredibly grateful. She is an incredible sister, aunt, and sister in law. We also have the three of us. It breaks my heart that most people do this alone. I have my sister and my father. We were always very close, but this has brought us to another level and we get the strength from us and more importantly my mother.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I hope they see!!! Kevin James because not only is he our favorite but he’s my mom’s absolute favorite. We watch King of Queens religiously every night. He’s from Long Island and we both have the same favorite pizza place, Eddies. We always hope to see him there. We are still hoping. Impractical Jokers is another show we love. When my mother’s Alzheimer’s progressed, the only shows we were able to watch was comedy. These shows and people got our family through hard times. As I said before, my mom is non-verbal but when she watches King of Queens and Impractical jokers, her face lights up. Sometimes she laughs. Its moments like that that give us strength. It would be incredible to share with them how much they have helped us and thank them.

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