SAN ANTONIO – November will mark three years since Maria Llamas' family last saw her. Llamas suffered from Alzheimer's disease. She was at a flea market with her husband when she wandered off and disappeared.
Security footage showed Llamas walking out of the flea market and across the highway. Police and family members looked for her for days, but she was never found.
Llamas' daughter, Margarita, says her mother's Alzheimer's had progressed rapidly, and she didn't recognize herself anymore. "There was a time when I was helping her in the bathroom, and she started waving at herself in the mirror. I looked at her and asked her, 'What are you doing?' and she was like, 'That's my friendly neighbor. She's always there,'" Margarita said.
The Llamas family is one of the many families that will participate in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's.
The walk is hosted by the Alzheimer's Association, an organization that raises awareness and money for Alzheimer's care, support and research.
Margarita says her family walks every year in honor of her mom. She says she hopes their story will help other families prevent something similar from happening to them. "Six out of 10 people with Alzheimer's wander off. And if they've wandered off once, do something about it. Get a tracking device, get something on your loved one," Margarita said. "We don't want them to be in the same situation we're in."
The Walk to End Alzheimer's is coming to San Antonio Saturday. You can sign up to participate or donate here.