By Lauren Fruen
AN ARMY veteran is battling early onset Alzheimer’s aged just 45 – after losing his mum and both siblings to the disease.
Matt Oliver was just 41 when he was diagnosed with the crippling illness after it wiped out three members of his close family.
Dad-of-three Matt, 45, who served in Kosovo and was a military contractor in the Middle East, lost his sister Stormie and brother Shawn when they were in their 50s.
The former soldier was then told he also carries the PSEN1 gene mutation for early onset Alzheimer’s after seeking help for memory loss.
His partner Traci Ward, 45, who is now his full time carer, said Matt now becomes disorientated easily and struggles to remember basic instructions.
He also has trouble with his speech, can no longer drive and has gone missing after getting lost on a couple of occasions.
Traci, who lives with Matt in Dallas, Texas, said: “Early onset Alzheimer’s runs rampant through his mum’s side of his family.
“He’s lost his mum and all her nine siblings, his brother, sister, grandma, great grandfather and some cousins have had it or are fighting this horrible terminal disease right now.
“He was diagnosed at 41, he is 45 now. But he’s been having symptoms since he was 35 years old.
“It goes back four plus generations on his mum’s side of his family.
“His children also have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene. If they do, it’s a 96 per cent chance that they will become symptomatic also.
“He’s been on both sides as a caregiver for his mum, brother and sister and now has been diagnosed with this.
“His symptoms have been getting worse over the past few months also. “His speech has become majorly affected.
“We take each day as they come.
“He’s the love of my life and I would do anything for him. It is so upsetting.
“Matt still has so many things still left to do, but he is having trouble with many things now. It’s heartbreaking to see.”
Matt and Traci are now raising money to be able to visit his son Robbie, who lives in Germany before he comes too ill.
The couple hope to also raise awareness of early onset Alzheimer’s.
Traci added: “There isn’t enough support out there at the moment.
“I am raising this money for him because his wish is to go to Germany to spend time with his son that he loves more than life itself.
“He also wants to travel to New York to spend time with his family there while he still can and if possible to mark a few items off his bucket.”