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Man On A Mission (Guest Blog by Ryan Chatham)

A mission is a task assigned by a higher power designed to carry out specific goals. Jack Fussell is a man on a mission. He has been led to help in the search for an end to a terrible disease. He is not the only person on this gigantic task. Many will go unrecognized. But will never be forgotten. There is no time to quit. Be relentless.

Where will I sleep every night ?

This is a copy of a post I made before last years trip. It was concerning where I would sleep every night. That concern became to big of an issue, because of me, on that trip. This year I will not let that happen. Anyway, here is the copy of a post from August 2012, before I headed West in 2013.

With the time getting closer and closer, I am starting to hear some real concerns for me. I appreciate that. The same question keeps getting asked of me, over and over, and it is a good question. Jack, where are you going to sleep? I do not know where I will sleep. I will start looking around when it is nearing that time and find a place. I may ask someone at there front door if I can sleep in their yard. They will be able to see my signs and see the letters I have and feel comfortable enough to let me stay on there property. I might sleep in an inexpensive motel once every two weeks or so. I might stay in a state park or in the woods. The most important aspect of this to me, is that I will handle it, as it comes up. I want to do that. I have always been such an anxious person who would not do anything until all of the problems have been brought to the fore-front and solved. I have not done much, but worry, because of living this way. This time I will let life walk right up to me and tell me what it needs me to do, and I will do it. I will do this. I will go from Savannah, GA to Monterey, California. I will help raise money for Alzheimer’s research.

Awareness, Advocacy, Research, Fund Raising

I have googled on Ryan’s computer for hours,reading as much as I can about each aspect of the fight with alzheimer’s. I have watched almost 100 YouTube clips. I have spoken with people that work in each area listed in the title block of this post. I have formulated my own feelings about what is going on and what I can really help with. This has really changed me. It has made me feel very serious. I thought I was pretty serious before, but I feel different now. I cannot waste all of the knowledge God has sent my way. I cannot waste my feelings grown out of listening to the feelings of the hundreds of people I have talked to. I feel so honored doing this. It is a real honor to me. Having what I feel is a purpose, a real purpose for being on this earth, is the best feeling I have ever felt. After I returned from Monterey, California, I felt for awhile like someone owed me something. I do not any more. I feel like I am helping with something. I feel a purpose. I do not ever want anything for what I am doing. That would be horrible to me. This is just me, it is how I feel. I do not want any thanks anymore. This is such an honor. I am the luckiest man on this planet. I have purpose and I feel like I have God’s blessing.

I have had quite a few people during this last 27 months of this quest, mention that they wish they could do something like what I am doing, instead of working. I try to quickly and in a nice manner tell them that I worked from age 16 to age 62, before I did any of this. I tell them I served in the military and helped raise two children, before I did any of this.

I am still learning and will continue to. I thank God several times a day for my life. I do want God to look at me and say or think, this man sure tried to use all of the stuff I gave him.

Training in 2012

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Joseph Bell

Last year after I returned home from Monterey, California, I headed west again, this time in a car. I visited some of the people I had met while crossing America on foot.

I read about Joseph Bell, by way of Facebook, and that he had been hit by a truck and died. I read that he had been walking to raise awareness to a horrible problem. The problem is bullying. I read that Joseph’s son, Jaden, had died from suicide. He had been bullied.

I cannot remember my mindset at the time, but I made a conscience decision to drive several hundred miles out of my way to the spot where Joseph had died. I read that it was 19 miles west of Kit Carson, Colorado. It was on US Hwy 40 near SR 94. He had been heading east, into Kit Carson.

I spent the night in a small motel in town. I think it was Shepp’s motel and restaurant. I did not ask any questions of anyone.

I got up the next morning and headed west. I found the intersection and got out of the car. I walked around and did not see any signs of the accident. I went farther east on foot and saw the place where he died. I found some things of his that were messed up. I found part of a flag stick. I stood there and looked back west a few feet. I thought about the fact that he was okay a few feet back and then, he wasn’t okay any more. I do not understand what I was feeling, but it was very sobering to me. It made life more real. It made little things that seemed so important before, seem like they were not important any more. A man that lost his precious baby was out trying to do something to help. He died doing it. I walked for about 5 miles east and then walked back to my car.

I felt like I could almost see him, standing near the fence, looking at me, kind of sad looking, but giving me a thumbs up, as if to say, thanks for coming.

I watched several YouTube videos of him. I really cared. It seemed at the time, and it still does, that is was very important to go there.

I called his wife and spoke with her for a few minutes.

 

Jack, they do not have internet……

Since I have returned from the crossing last year, I have noticed that I rarely talk with alzheimer’s caregivers anymore. I have talked with a few, but not many. I have talked with more that were caregivers in the past. I have talked with a lot of people that know people dealing with alzheimer’s situations. On the trip across last year, I talked with hundreds and hundreds of “current caregivers”

What is going on here? On the trip last year, the Alzheimer’s Association was able to get me on 43 local TV shows. Them and others, were able to get me in roughly 100 newspaper articles.  Most of the newspaper articles were printed before I came through their area of coverage. People were expecting me. I think they felt like I was trying to help. They got someone to watch their alzheimer’s patient long enough to come speak to me beside the road. I told hundreds of them about the help the Alzheimer’s Association offers. I listened to their stories and they thanked me for the information, but mainly for listening.

Why aren’t current caregivers talking to me now? Most have no idea what I am doing. I am rarely in a newspaper now and never on TV. Even if they knew what I was doing and where I was they may not be able to travel that far to speak to  me.

 All of this thinking has made me realize that most people that are the age of caregivers, do not do a lot on the internet. I have asked and most do not. I actually called several that I  met going across last year and all but one told me they rarely ever get near a computer.

The Alzheimer’s Association has an awesome website. It is so full of very helpful information that will help caregivers deal with the situations they are dealing with and even give them Hope, but a lot of caregivers will never even see it. I hope some of their family will find out about it and tell them things that may help, that they learn from the website.

That is why we need the Helpline. 1-800-272-3900 and they can call it anytime. Most all people nowadays have a phone and can dial a number. Ah, but their is a problem. We have to let people know that help is available and that their is a number, they can call for help.

What I am doing now is helping a few things. It is keeping me fit. It is making others know they can change their own life. (if I can, anyone can)  It is informing the public about this growing problem (alzheimer’s disease). I mention to most people that we have to tell our lawmakers that we need more research money and legislation that will help fight alzheimer’s. My car has the 1-800-272-3900 phone number on it. Thousands possibly see it every week.

I ramble in my thinking and it shows up in my writing, but that it is okay with me. It is who I am and in the end it helps me formulate a plan. I know I am helping in this fight against alzheimer’s disease. That is a good feeling.

I will be a walking billboard again starting January 10,2015. I will be bringing AWARENESS to the problem that alzheimer’s disease is causing, in our country and around the world.

I know I am helping in the fight against alzheimer’s disease. I know people are helping me. I have also learned the people helping me do not want thanks, they want to help. I have recently received 3 helpful gifts for the next trip. All 3 have asked to remain anonymous. I will honor their requests.

What an absolute honor for me, to be helping in something so important.

I will help find a cure for alzheimer’s disease !! I will help caregivers, both paid and unpaid !! I will have purpose in my life !!

I hope others help and have purpose !!

Thursday morning, May 30th, 2013. #ENDALZ

Heading west about 20 miles. Good weather predicted.

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Thanks Bobbie. Sometimes one place is just as safe as any other place, in a storm.

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Love this. Thanks Susan….

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Paul Staso – advisor

Paul Ran the Mojave Desert with no support.

I do not know of anyone that has done the many things Paul has done.

The route I am taking can be dangerous and IS extreme !!

He will be beside me in spirit. He will help me with the planning that this route will force upon me.

I would not attempt this route without the knowledge that Paul Staso has accumulated during many years of doing extreme things, that most would not ever consider.

I appreciate my friend Paul.

Paul told me he wants to see me in Monterey, California.