Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Alzheimer's Disease - Ruthless and Cruel

Alzheimer’s Disease – Ruthless and Cruel

By Joanne Elder

Yesterday I was on Rogers Daytime, a local morning talk show, to promote my science fiction thriller SPECTRA, recently released by MuseItUp Publishing, and to promote the upcoming Authors Fight Alzheimer’s fundraiser taking place on January 30th at the North York Central Library Auditorium in Toronto from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. When Jeff, one of the hosts on the show, asked about the fundraiser, it brought back a rush of memories of why I decided to organize such an enormous event. The answer…my father.

My father, William Cavendish Macneill, was my friend, my mentor and my inspiration. We shared a love of science and science fiction and I followed in his footsteps in becoming an engineer. He was never a writer, but I can write to keep his memory alive. When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I looked into his eyes and saw the man who raised me, the man who was a WWII pilot, the man who was a successful engineer, the husband to my mother. I also saw confusion and fear. Shortly before he passed away, I looked into those same eyes and saw something I’d never seen before: his spark for life was gone. The disease had extinguished it. In a moment of clarity, he looked at me and said “This game has gone on far too long.” Those are words too painful to even think about. My mom presently suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, but when I visit she still manages to tell me she loves me. For those words I’m truly grateful.

After my dad passed away in 2008, I felt I had to do something to give meaning to his years of suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. I dedicated SPECTRA to him and decided to donate half my royalties to the Alzheimer’s Society. But that was not enough. I want people to have awareness of what my dad and millions of others go through with this terrible disease. And so Authors Fight Alzheimer’s was born…

This fundraising event has grown into a huge book signing event with 26 authors (some award winning) of many different genres. The authors will be signing their books that evening with the proceeds of sales going to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Sandra Black, a distinguished physician with Sunnybrook Hospital and Professor of Neurology at the University of Toronto, will talk about Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of keeping your mind active through reading as a defense against the disease. Thanks to our corporate sponsors, there will be great food and door prizes. I hope people will spread the word and attend this fantastic evening to meet the authors and stock up on some great winter reading.

My thanks goes out to all the MuseItUp authors attending the book signing with me (Kevin Craig, Sandra Clarke, Nancy Bell and Helene Provost), and to Lea Schizas and Litsa Kamateros for all their support. I must also thank all the other participating authors and the corporate sponsors for making this event a success. I final thank you must go to Deron Douglas with Double Dragon Publishing for publishing a commemorative book particularly for this event.

My compassion goes out to everyone who has had a loved one suffer with Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps if we work together, we can make a difference for next generation.

Joanne Elder

Author of SPECTRA and ENTITY (May 2012), MuseItUp Publishing



Twitter @JoanneElder


Paruparo said...

Wow, heartbreaking, inspirational, and beautiful. This post really hit me hard because I'm also really close to my dad (he's also a rocket engineer, and while he wasn't a WWII pilot, he was enlisted in the airforce once upon a time). I don't know what I'd do without him, and I think what you're doing in your own father's memory is absolutely inspirational. All my respect, and my best wishes.

Arlene said...

Best of the luck at the book signing, Joanne. I know it'll be a huge success, and the monies you generate will contribute to helping so many others keep their loved ones memories in tack. You're an amazing woman, who's written an amazing book, and I'm sure your father would have been very very proud.

SJ Clarke said...

Wow, Joanne. I knew you must have a deep connection to the pain of Alzheimers, but I never dreamed to what extent. My heart breaks for you.

My mother has Alzheimers. This disease steals a piece of her soul each and every day. I pray for scientists to discover the prevention if not the cure. While it may be too late for my mother, hopefully we can make a difference for the next generation.

I'm proud to be a small part of this amazing event! Kudos to you for pulling it off with such style and expertise.

Pauline said...

What a wonderful idea! Good luck with the book signing and fund raiser! This terrible disease also afflicts my family. :-(

Wendy said...

This is a touching post Joanne. I wish you and your fellows authors much success in Toronto. Your contibutions will result in a breakthrough one day. We pray that it will be soon.

gail roughton branan said...

I wish I could have been there, Joanne. It is such a cruel disease, this thing that takes one's "self".

Unknown said...

My father too suffered from this horrible disease. He was a very intelligent man, which made it all the harder to watch him fall to pieces.

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