Your gift can help families like this one

Published: Apr 23, 2015

Cheryl has vivid memories of how her mom's dementia impacted her and her family, including her daughter, Kaillie Humphries (Olympic gold medallist in women’s bobsleigh in Vancouver, 2010 and Sochi, Russia in 2014).

Cheryl and her sister Lori both recall their journey as a difficult one.

"She kept scooting her chair closer to my dad and me, who were in the hallway. She could see us through the door and we could read her lips as she tried to whisper to us, 'I don’t know the answer!' We laugh a bit now at the comedy of that moment, but that day my heart was sinking. Our mom was in a doctor’s office being tested. And we knew what it meant, that our vibrant, independent, beautiful mom didn’t know the answers.

At just 60 years old, our mom had Alzheimer’s. (See the photos and full story here)

Like so many others, we knew pieces of our mom would begin to slip away. And we were terrified of what that might look like. Our dad always said, “It’s like a book, and every day you rip out one page. The cover looks the same, but the person inside is gone.”

Maybe that sounds familiar to you. Maybe you’re even going through it right now. You’re watching your mom, your father, your sister, your husband – the person you’ve known and loved your whole life – change right before your eyes. And perhaps even forget who you are, who THEY are.We know how hard it is. But we also know there’s hope

For us, hope came in the form of the Alzheimer Society of Calgary.

And let’s be real, this journey is tough. Not only for the person with dementia but for their loved ones, too.
When we reached out for help, we felt like we were drifting in a stormy sea and had been thrown a lifeline. And we clung to it for dear life.

When you give, you give an exhausted daughter one-on-one support and tools to help her cope. You give a husband with dementia the opportunity to use his mind in meaningful ways, through art or music. You give hope to thousands of families who deal with this every day. You might even be supporting a service that can help you right now, in facing day-to-day challenges.

Our children are the true story, the shining result of having gone through this experience with their beloved grandmother. Mom never got to see Kaillie win that medal, but we know she was there. Kaillie takes our mom everywhere she goes by wearing Mom’s wedding band. On the same finger as her Olympic ring.

Kaillie and the rest of our family learned that this isn’t a journey you can go on alone. We needed each other. And no one has to do it alone – because the Alzheimer Society of Calgary is here.
Please consider joining us in making sure local families can continue to get the support they need. We are so thankful for people like you.

Cheryl Simundson and Lori Chibry

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P.S. If you’re searching for support or information, please don’t hesitate to connect with the Alzheimer Society of Calgary team. Talk to someone.