Retired Burnsville officer facing early onset dementia diagnosis

- At 55 years old, no one would realize Rory Bochniak is facing the challenge of his life. 

“It's still tough for me to even talk about it,” said Rory. 

Struggling to find the words and getting numbers mixed up started about two years ago, around the time Rory retired from the Burnsville Police Department. This summer, while working part-time as an usher at the Xcel Energy Center, the father of three realized the time had come to stop working completely.

“I look down and I don't see the numbers or the things that other people see,” said Rory. "It's a tough pill to see."

In August, Rory was officially diagnosed with rapidly progressing early onset dementia. According to the Alzheimer's Association, 5.5 million people in the U.S. share that diagnosis, about 200,000 of which are under 65.

“There are questions for us,” said Dede Bochniak, Rory’s wife. “Will there be a point Rory doesn't know me? What does that look like? When could that potentially happen?”

Now with what seems like endless unknowns about his health, future, and the time left, Rory and Dede are navigating the stresses as best they can by renewing their vows and making memories. 

“We just celebrated our sixth year anniversary and it seems unfair,” said Dede. 

Sharing their story they hope to bring awareness to the younger side of dementia and Alzheimer’s. As Rory points out, none of us know what tomorrow will bring, but his diagnosis has taught him and he hopes to inspire others to hug the ones you love a little tighter. 

“It's a journey and we're going to walk it and won't give up," said Rory.

At this point Rory, is still hunting and fishing, but there will soon be a time he'll have additional needs, including long term care insurance. His family and friends are only at the beginning of figuring all that out. November 16, a benefit is being thrown in his honor at the Royal Cliff Banquet Center in Eagan from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Donations are also being collected at this link.

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