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Francisco Obando, 77
Queens, New York
It has been 17 years since Francisco was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but he still lives at home, cared for day and night by his devoted wife, Susy. Even after his diagnosis, his employers at Eaglo Paints kept him on as a tribute to his 35 years of service. "He loved practical jokes," says Susy. "When his sister in Ecuador got a VCR, she asked him to send her some movies. He sent her a videotape and labeled it 'The Invisible Man.' When she played it, it was blank!" Susy has helpers spend the days with Francisco while she goes to work, but after a full day, she often has full nights caring for her husband. "I have many sleepless nights," she says. "I cry. He was my friend, my companion, my love. I miss him very much." Except, perhaps, when Francisco looks Susy in the eye, and conjuring up a dim, sweet memory, sings "Bésame Mucho."
— Frank J. Yuvancic
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