MOORESVILLE, N.C. (WJZY) – A Mooresville family is documenting what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s Disease, inspiring hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
Joshua Pettit has been taking care of his mother, Betty, for the past nine years.
He has surpassed a quarter-million followers on his TikTok account, which features the laughs and heartbreak associated with Betty’s disease.
“We suddenly realized we were shining a light on this disease that a lot of people weren’t necessarily familiar with or didn’t understand what that looked like,” said Pettit.
The account blew up around Thanksgiving last year when Joshua recorded a precious moment of his mother talking to herself in the mirror, thinking she was talking to another woman.
The Pettit family says they noticed the signs of Betty’s Alzheimer’s when she was diagnosed with lung and kidney cancers nine years ago. With each surgery, her symptoms continued to progress. Ultimately, Joshua moved his parents into his Mooresville home.
Since his TikTok account has taken off, Joshua says it has given his mother a nice distraction, not to mention a smile each day when they receive gifts from her fans.
“Recently, there was a video of her wanting a cookie for breakfast, and I wouldn’t give her a cookie for breakfast, and that created an internet outcry of people sending her cookies,” said Joshua.
Though it’s not an easy life, Joshua has found a way to take his mother’s disease and turn it into a positive.
“We struggled with this and didn’t know if we were doing a good job or how we were dealing with this,” he said. “People were saying, ‘wow, you guys are handling this great.’ We looked at each other and said, ‘maybe we are doing a good job with this.'”