Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AAQI Wall of Remembrance


Today, Sept. 21st, is World Alzheimer’s Day.

I think about the statistics that 5.4 million people have this disease. I wonder if I will be among those who face it any where from their late forties into their fifties and beyond. I think of what it will be like for our families to care for us, cry over us, wonder why it had to be this way ....and worry that I will be next.

If you have, or have had a family member or someone special in your own life who has suffered from Alzheimer's, please do the same. If you are on Facebook, please change your FB photo status and profile photo to theirs and include this statement in your status update:
 
I support the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative
at www.AlzQuilts.org


If you make a $5 donation to the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative before midnight tonight, post the invoice number generated by your donation to the AAQI FaceBook page at: http://www.facebook.com/AAQI.News *


AAQI will capture the image of your loved one from your profile picture and add it to the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative 2011 Virtual Wall of Remembrance where it will remain for one year. Names will not accompany photographs.

If you are not on FaceBook, or wish to make multiple donations to honor more than one person, email one photograph of each of your loved ones and the invoice number generated by your donation ($5 for each photo) to Diane at diane456@gmail.com. Pictures may be cropped and sized to fit the wall.

Alzheimer's has changed my own life forever. It has changed the life of my mother, my father, my four brothers and all of our families. It filled my father with the deepest sadness I have ever witnessed in another's eyes as he watched my mom change, and forget, and then begin to slip away. Before he died in August of 2010, he asked me to promise him that I would love and care for her for the rest of my life... because he knew that he would no longer be able to.

My brothers, my sister-in-laws, and I continue to care for her ...completely in her home on my childhood home on Douglas Island, Alaska. Right now, one brother and his wife live with her full-time and the rest of us come in and out..of the house, of the state of Alaska, of her life and our being able to help her. It is the hardest thing any of us has ever done. But because we love her, we do what we have to do until we find another way of getting outside help for her or until she passes from this disease and what it has done to both her brain, and her body.

Because I suffer from severe, long term chronic sleep deprivation and average less than 4 hours of sleep per night with an inability to almost never take naps...I live in a state very, very similar to the confusion, forgetfulness, and inability to remember what day it is, season it is, or what and how I need to do the things I want to. There are days when I am so exhausted I can't even remember the simplest of things, get lost driving down town, or forget the process of working the links, and passwords for all of my blogs and databases. How I may seem on the outside is very different from what I face on the inside.

I do not have Alzheimer's Disease, but I can guess at what it must feel like. And it is more than confusing, it is often terrifying to even consider.

If you don't have a family member with this disease, you are so blessed. Could you please go to the AAQI web page and donate even just $5 in honor of my mother? My family? Even me?
We need dollars to create funding for research. We need quilts to create sales and auctions for dollars to create funding. But most of all, we need people who care, care enough to donate $5 today and create those quilts, and even more so...the purchase of our little AAQI quilts... so that some day.... I will never have to write about this again.

Please help me to stop writing about Alzheimer's and AAQI ....and let that be because no one needs to write about it, anymore ...because a cure or a preventive treatment has been found.... and not because I have forgotten how.

Please make a $5 donation at the AAQI webpage. All it takes is a credit card, and a few moments of your time.
$5 Donation
$10 Donation



And other news...
"Heartbreak to Hope" Exhibit Is Now In Laconia, NH



"Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" is an exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's sponsored by the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). Fifty-four small format art quilts (9" x 12") illustrate the disease from a variety of perspectives. They hang among 182 "Name Quilts," each 6 inches wide and 7 feet tall, which carry the names of more than 10,000 individuals who have/had Alzheimer's or a related dementia. The names of loved ones, written on fabric patches by family members and friends, honor the 5.4 million Americans in the United States struggling with Alzheimer's disease.


I am blessed to have two quilts traveling with this exhibit. Please come and check it out if it comes to an area near you.

Michele Bilyeu of With Heart and Hands quilts for AAQI and runs the AAQI Liberated Challenge..won't you join in all of our fun...donate or buy a quilt, today!To see all of our quilts to date, check out our AAQI webpage at http://www.alzquilts.org/liqublliqume.htmlMichele Bilyeu of With Heart and Hands quilts for AAQI and runs the AAQI Liberated Challenge..won't you join in all of our fun...donate or buy a quilt, today!To see all of our quilts to date, check out our AAQI webpage at http://www.alzquilts.org/liqublliqume.html
Michele Bilyeu quilts for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) With Heart and Hands at www.with-heart-and-hands.com Join my friend-connect to receive my frequent updates on quilting, crafting,and updates for thousands and thousands of free patterns and tutorials.

7 comments:

  1. I love the Wall of Remembrance. Seeing your mother and my father (and all the others) is a sad/happy feeling.

    My admiration for what Amy Simms has created in AAQI continues to grow.

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  2. Anonymous8:20 AM

    You are so amazing. Your story really helps me understand what this might be like for so many families.

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  3. Anonymous11:34 AM

    I'm a lurker who doesn't usually comment, but because no one has hardly has I want to say how much I admire your willingness to be open in order to teach us and help us understand. You are to be admired.

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  4. I wish that instead of a cyber {{{hug}}}, I could give you a real one. My step-dad had the early stages of Alzheimers before he passed away from cancer. It ia a terrible disease. My heart goes out to you and your whole family.
    Much love and hugs, Deborah

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  5. Michele, I really don't know what to say. You are one amazing woman!

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  6. Anonymous5:55 PM

    I JUST LOST MY MOM.SHE HAD BREAST CANCER,THEN THEY FOUND LONG CANCER. AND THEN SHE CAME DOWN WITH ALZEIMERS.THEY SAID SHE HAD THIS FOR A LONG TIME.BUT THE CANCER MADE IT HIT ALL AT ONCE. SHE COULLDENT HEAR US TALK TO HER, THEN SHE COULDENT WALK GOOD AT ALL,THEN SHE COULDENT TALK. ALL THIS IN 2 MONTHS.WE HAD TO PUT HER IN A NURCING HOME,SO THEY CAN GIVE HER PAIN MEDS AND 6 WEEKS LATER THEY CALLED TO TELL ME SHE HAS PASSED.GO SEE HER THIS WAY WAS THE HARDEST THING I HAD AVER DONE.SHE WAS 74 AND SHE DIED THE DAY BEFORE HER BIRTHDAY.

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  7. To 'anonymous' above. Please know how very sad I am for you and your family. I understand with all of my heart and it breaks my heart for both of us and all of the others who've rowed our boat. I'm blessed to have my mother still alive, but with advanced Alzheimer's its still a mixed blessing and a hard one. Your mother is at peace now, but your loss is a huge one and I can only hope you will find peace and feel her love everlasting with time.

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.