PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — September is World Alzheimer’s Month and for those taking care of loved ones suffering from the disease, it can take its toll. Eyewitness News was in Society Hill, where some cups of coffee are also bringing together a community.
At Lombard Cafe in Society Hill, workers are busy filling coffee orders, but owner Matthew Lattanzio is juggling a lot more than running the coffee shop.
On top of raising his two little girls, he’s also taking care of his wife, Jill, who’s been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 45-years-old.
“It’s nothing anyone could plan for, every day is different,” Lattanzio said. “It’s day by day.”
Alzheimer’s causes memory loss and family members say Jill’s diagnosis was met with confusion, some were even reluctant to accept it.
“It’s beyond difficult,” Matt’s sister, Malarie Doyle, said. “My heart breaks for their daughters. I fear down the road they’re not going to know the true Jill we all know and love today.”
Between doctor appointments, testing and medications, costs for the Lattanzio family only continue to increase after Jill was diagnosed in July.
“She was actually one of the youngest, if not the youngest case from Jefferson,” clinical nurse specialist Jeff Salvatore said.
Jill was also a postpartum nurse at Jefferson Hospital so she can no longer work.
So now, the Swab Squad is standing behind the Lattanzio’s. They are a group of flat and per diem nurses, working Jefferson’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing site, who went viral this year for their dance moves.
They recently donated more than $1,000 to the family.
They’re giving back after Matt and the Lombard Cafe donated coffee to the squad during the early days of the pandemic.
“No small act of kindness goes unpaid and now it was our time to return the favor and we couldn’t be happier to help,” Salvatore said.
So, the Swab Squad is encouraging people to visit the Lombard Cafe.
There’s also a GoFundMe to help the family.