From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made
World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play
WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.
Bill Craig is doing it right. The 61-year-old WoW
player has suffered from early-onset Alzheimer's disease
for half a dozen years now, winding his way through Azeroth for about half that time. He's ridden a bicycle
all the way from Carrollton, Texas, to Carrollton, Georgia, to raise money and awareness for animal welfare -- not once but twice. He's a Vietnam vet. He serves as an advocate with the Alzheimer's Association
, having recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., with his wife to meet with legislators about bills impacting Alzheimer's. Bill's contributions and commitment to his community and country are impressive for any seasoned professional, let alone someone living with a disease that monkeywrenches a person's thinking, memory and behavior.
I know Bill's doing it right because I live under the baleful gaze of Alzheimer's, too. My mother passed away two years ago after a particularly cruel struggle with the disease. She began batting aside its first tendrils while caring for my grandmother, also stripped bare by Alzheimer's. My father wanders through a related type of dementia -- perversely, with all the sets of symptoms my mother never developed. (Ding! We hit the jackpot, I guess.) In my work, I've written about Alzheimer's and the incredible burdens it places on families
, parents with young children who now also care for their own parents over the painfully protracted years it takes life to trickle away. Alzheimer's is inextricably part of my life, too.
So none of that makes me special -- Alzheimer's grip on families is all too common -- but it does mean I can say one thing with certainty: Bill Craig is
doing it right. His view of Azeroth, however, is very different from yours or mine.
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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame