Video of man with dementia riding 'a wave one last time' goes viral

People are sharing their stories and thanking a Twitter user for helping a man with dementia surf at a beach (Credit: Twitter)
People are sharing their stories and thanking a Twitter user for helping a man with dementia surf at a beach (Credit: Twitter)

Twitter users are sharing their experiences caring for loved ones with brain impairment after a group of young people helped a man with dementia “ride a wave one last time.”

Ryan Giancola was on vacation with his family, neighbors and friends at the beach in Duck, N.C. on July 16 when an “elderly lady” came up to the group. She asked if they would help her husband, Vern, get on a boogie board because it was “his favorite thing to do.”

Giancola tells Yahoo Lifestyle that this was Vern’s “last beach trip,” and his wife said he has “about a year left to live.” He took to Twitter the next day to share a video, and post about his experience.

“As we were walking towards the water he was telling us stories about going to the outer-banks throughout his life,” he recounts. “He was all smiles after he rode the wave.” Giancola described the experience as “amazing,” and points out that it was on his birthday, which makes it even more special.

”Honestly the whole thing was amazing,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I think the craziest part was that their family thought that we gave them a gift when really they gave us an incredible experience that we will never forget.”

The Twitter post opened the door for many others to talk about their own experiences with people with dementia, and other illnesses. Some thanked him for his act of kindness, mentioning that their loved ones suffered from the illness.

One person wrote that their mother might be suffering from dementia, and while they haven’t received a confirmed diagnosis, they hope to encounter someone like Giancola in the future.

“What an amazing tweet. I’m literally crying. We just discovered that my mom is probably suffering from dementia we are waiting for actual diagnoses,” the person Tweeted. “We don’t know what to expect but I pray one day we will meet someone like you”

Another Twitter user pointed out that the selfless act helped the wife — who is in the “never-ending, tumultuous role as care giver — as much as it did him.

“TY for restoring my faith in humanity,” the person wrote.

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