DENVER — When you really boil it down, life is just a series of memories. So when Helen Martinez starts losing memories, Rita Sandoval said it's like her mom is losing her life -- to dementia.
"The most difficult is that she doesn't remember my dad sometimes," Sandoval said. "I think for me, that's the most difficult. That's the most heartbreaking."
Martinez sometimes cannot even remember the names of her own six kids.
"I had too many," Martinez said with a laugh.
Her personality is still intact. Granddaughter Mindy Sandoval said Grandma is still funny and charming. That's why she organized a gathering just for Grandma.
"A lot of my family rides Harleys and they're real into them," Mindy Sandoval said.
She said many of her relatives go on family motorcycle rides during the summer, but they can never take Grandma.
"My grandma doesn't get out much cause she's on a walker and I didn't want her to feel lonely or she wasn't included. And, I felt like this is something that everybody in my family does," Mindy Sandoval said.
The last time Martinez was on a motorcycle was with her son Ted Martinez.
"Yes, the last time she rode was with me when I first got my bike in '04," Ted Martinez said.
But, there is a problem. Grandma cannot physically sit on a motorcycle anymore.
"I was looking for somebody who had a sidecar and just looking for somebody to volunteer to do it," Mindy Sandoval said.
She found Scott Kirkwood who owns City on the Side, a sidecar touring company based in Englewood. When Kirkwood was asked if he would give a total stranger a ride for free, he says the answer was easy.
"For the question to come up, would you be willing to do this? I mean, I didn't have to think about it. It was like absolutely, you tell me when to be there and we're there," Kirkwood said.
Ted Martinez is grateful because it means his mom can hit the open road.
"She's not going to be in her right mind forever, so we just enjoy her now that we can," Ted Martinez said.
A gesture from a stranger combined with a moment created by her family.
"Since we are a motorcycle family, I mean it's just freedom. For us, it's so much freedom an I want her to feel that," Rita Sandoval said. "I want her to feel free and alive again."
Rita Sandoval and her family want one more ride with Grandma. A makeshift parade of motorcycles followed Grandma's sidecar as she toured around Denver for about half-an-hour.
"I hope that she realized that we all love her because sometimes I think she feels left out," Mindy Sandoval said.
They want to create a memory for a person who keeps losing them day after day.
"After it's over, she'll remember it for a couple of days and we'll remind her and we'll have pictures to show her," Rita Sandoval said.
They are fighting dementia -- by living life.
"I enjoyed it," Helen Martinez said. "Should I get back in?"