Born in Fort Atkinson in 1948, Nicola “Nicki” Kenseth worked as a secretary before meeting and marrying Roy Kenseth. Nicki adored children, and she and Roy had two, Kelley and Matt. Described as “a woman with a servant’s heart” — Nicki was devoted to her family, her faith and helping others. Nicki’s greatest joy in life was her grandchildren.
In January of 2003, her family began noticing minor personality changes. She sometimes struggled with simple math and daily tasks, and sadly received the shattering diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease progressed, Nicki required fulltime help. Along with her husband and daughter — Nicki’s primary caregivers — there was a steady army of supporters and caregivers. In 2012, after nearly a decade of fighting Alzheimer’s disease, Nicki died. She was only 63 years old.
The Kenseth name is well-known is Wisconsin, both because Nicki’s son, Matt, is a legendary NASCAR driver, and because of the family’s generous philanthropic efforts. Matt and Kelley have hosted many fundraising events in their mother’s honor, making it their mission to support Alzheimer’s disease research.
“We have a better choice,” Kelley said. “We can choose to be part of a community of peers fighting to treat, prevent and cure this devastating disease. We must also consider the impact of this disease and seek to become more informed on all the issues surrounding it. Your awareness is a stepping-stone toward action.”
Kelley is proud to be a member of the UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s Board of Visitors. “The suffering never eases up or goes into remission. Alzheimer’s steals everything. The patient receives the diagnosis and, little by little, all the things that defined their freedom are taken from them until even their free will has disappeared completely. We must find a cure,” said Kelley.
Please join her and her family in advancing a cure through research, education and social responsibility with your support of the UW Initiative to End Alzheimer’s. Together, we can improve lives and build a future without Alzheimer’s disease.