A League of Her Own: Part 3

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - For most of Karen Kunkel's life, if there's a challenge, she could beat it.

So, when she was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s her mind set was no different, but this fight will be one she won't do alone.

"There's good days and there's bad days," says Karen, "but the good days are better than the bad days."

Karen was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 1 year ago, but for those close to her, like her son Scott, it was something they had seen coming well before the diagnoses.

“There was certain things that she was always on top of doing and you notice she wasn’t doing those things anymore. It became more and more apparent it was something we did have to face head on.”

It wouldn’t be long though before it was no longer possible to hide and that meant getting help and, for Jack, better learning how to battle this disease.

"I told them what I (Jack) was doing as a caregiver. That when she was trying to do a thought, I would not..I knew what the thought was but I wouldn't say what it was I would force her to come up with it. And the Doctor says, no Jack, if the thought comes to you, you have to be the voice, and it worked."

It's education like this that they received from their time at the Mayo Clinic and here locally with the Alzheimer's Association in Marquette.

Just as many coaches will tell you it takes a team to win.

"We've been a team for 56 years, that's what she's (Karen's) gunna tell ya, that's the thought. And we really have."

Leave it to the Kunkels though to find the bright side, as Scott explains, the diagnoses meant bringing that team closer together

"We didn't spend enough time around our parents when we were young, and so now we're trying to do that much more, and realizing some of the things my parents did over the years has been really quite amazing."

Despite her diagnoses Karen hasn't stopped working for equality.

Which will culminate in the completion of the International Women's Baseball Center in Rockford, Illinois.

Which was a push made in part by Karen after women were taken out of the Baseball Hall of Fame in the early 2000's.

Despite her diagnoses, for Karen she says it's pretty simple.

"What I do, is I go to bed, I get up in the morning, I get dressed, I get out there, and that's a day, (Just another day?) Just another day."

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s you can get help locally from the Alzheimer's Association of Marquette by calling 906-228-3910

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