and a reminder that Alzheimer's Disease doesn't define your loved one.
Wilson & Grandpa
Wilson & Grandpa is a brand based in Naples, FL, created and founded by one of Grandpa’s granddaughters, Roxanne. Inspired by his love and kindness, Roxanne wanted to find a way to honor him after his passing in October 2020. She joined the local chapter of Walk to End Alzheimer’s, where she exceeded her fundraising goal with the support of family and friends in less than two weeks.
After going through this experience, Roxanne wanted to do “more” – not only to keep honoring Grandpa but also to honor those living with Alzheimer’s Disease and the family and friends affected by it. There are many resources available to help families through their journey, and bringing awareness is crucial to getting the information out there
and keeping fighting for a cure.
Wilson & Grandpa was created so that anyone – regardless of age or what role they play in the life of someone living with Alzheimer’s – has access to resources, information, and ways to support the ALZ community in a relatable and straightforward manner.
Through our Care + Awareness project, we hope to normalize the conversation about dementia, show appreciation to all the exceptional caregivers out there, support creators + small businesses, embrace everyone’s unique journey, and much more.
Join us as we are Dealing Together with Alzheimer’s Disease.
He was like a Sunflower; standing tall and finding sunlight even on the darkest days.
Esteban Santos Rodríguez, “Abuelo” or “Grandpa”, was born on August 3rd,1945 in Cayey, Puerto Rico. He married Norma González Vega, Abuela, the love of his life and his long-term care partner, on July 22, 1966. They raised their four children with all the love that they could give. Grandpa was the best grandfather for his13 grandchildren – I can attest to that! – and was even better as a Great Grandpa for those of his 19 great grandchildren that were lucky to meet him.
He had a successful ever-growing career throughout his life because he did everything with love, care, and quality. Together with my Abuela they owned a small shop called Fantasias Jemsbins, where they sold school supplies among many other things! His favorite job was with El Vocero de Puerto Rico, where he was an Area Manager of Distribution. He hired so many young people for whom he became a mentor and an advocate. After 20 years of many excellence awards and accomplishments, Grandpa retired due to complications with his heart. He endured two open-heart surgeries, needed multiple pacemakers, and went through other procedures. Eventually, he received a new heart in 2009. Even after his heart transplant, the doctors found an issue that had to be corrected with a pacemaker, again, which is a rare case.
Grandpa was on Aricept (a medication that helps treat Alzheimer’s Disease) a couple of years before his transplant. The doctors believed that by the age of 74, he would start showing symptoms or possibly experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease because of the two open-heart surgeries and the many other procedures he endured. The Aricept was taken away after his heart transplant, for reasons that we are yet to understand, and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease two years later when he was 66 years old.
Along with the assistance of family, friends, and the VA, Abuela Norma continued to care for him for the next nine years. Between many highs and lows, the Alzheimer’s Disease progressed until he was bed-ridden. Abuelo Esteban, Grandpa, passed away on October 25, 2020, surrounded by loved ones in his home. Those around him say that the experience was painful but at the same time beautiful and life-changing. Even while leaving this world, Grandpa found a way to express unmeasurable love for his family.
Despite all his health complications and Alzheimer’s Disease, Grandpa never lost his essence. He was smart, kind, funny, compassionate, loving, and inspiring. His love for Abuela, his family, life itself, and his faith in God was still present even when it appeared that Alzheimer’s Disease had taken so much; but the disease never defined him. He will continue to be our family’s inspiration, and we hope to not only bring honor to him through Wilson & Grandpa, but we can also spread kindness, love, and resources to help families through the process of caring and loving someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
the loyal sidekick
Meet Wilson, a twiddle activity muff that was given a friendly face and a beanie - to match Grandpa and give him personality!
Grandpa always kept Wilson nearby - singing, talking, and holding him. He was Grandpa's companion on the good days, on the tough days, and everything in between.
Nobody should go through this alone, which is why we've taken inspiration from their story.
Wilson is a symbol of companionship, love, support, and awareness - which is all much needed to face the journey of loving and caring for someone with Alzheimer's Disease.
We hope this serves as a reminder that you are not alone.