Still Alice will be a movie with Julianne Moore!

Still Alice will be made into a movie!Julianne Moore will star in Still Alice movieI’m thrilled to learn that “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova will make it to the big screen to help spread awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, and even more thrilled to see such a top notch actress as Julianne Moore involved with the project. This early-onset story will go a long way in educating the public that this disease is not just for the elderly and that a cure must be found.

How about you, are you excited to hear this novel will be made into a movie?

Alzheimer’s disease, it runs in the family

Like mother

Like mother . . .

I helped collect donations last Saturday at a local Walgreen’s during the Alzheimer’s Association Forget Me Not Days, the second time I’ve pitched in for this important fundraiser. This year I was pleased that my thirteen-year-old daughter Annie agreed to come along and keep me company during my shift.

Annie is old enough to know that Alzheimer’s disease runs in families,  and she has started to understand the impact of that since my mother and her grandmother died of Alzheimer’s. We had a couple of hours to talk about it while we accepted donations.

My request remained the same for every Walgreen’s customer. “Would you like to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association to help find a cure?”

“I don’t want you to get Alzheimer’s, Mom,” Annie finally confessed during a lull in the action.

“Neither do I, and that’s why I help out in any way that I can with the Alzheimer’s Association. But the most important reason I volunteer is so that a cure will be found for Alzheimer’s before you are older.”

“But how much money could we possibly raise today, Mom? It can’t be enough to do much.”

like daughter

… like daughter

“No, not us alone,” I agreed. “But say we raise a couple hundred dollars here today. Add that amount with every location across the country that is collecting for Alzheimer’s research this weekend, and that’s enough to help. We can only do our best as a small part of a bigger effort.”

“So together we can all help.” It wasn’t a question, it was a definitive statement as Annie figured it out.

My volunteer time for the Alzheimer’s Association paid dividends in more ways than one this time around. How are you supporting the Alzheimer’s Association and their mission for a world without Alzheimer’s disease?


Springfield IL Walk to End Alzheimer’s September 22, 2012

1 Walk to End Alzheimers Springfield IL Sep 22 2012Many enthusiastic and passionate supporters came out on a sunny and fiercely windy morning in Southwind Park for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 22, 2012 in Springfield, Illinois. Not only was the event a fundraiser, but it was also a moving tribute to those who currently suffer from or care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

A dog shows support for the Walk to End Alzheimers Springfield IL Sep 22 2012

I volunteered to help find people who might be interested in participating in clinical research trials, and in this role was reminded how much fear is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. As I walked through the crowd and talked to attendees, I was greeted with much anxiety and heard often, “No, I don’t want to ever know if I might get Alzheimer’s disease.” This response reinforced the need to find a cure for me because people are so afraid of this devastating illness.

The crowd at  Walk to End Alzheimers Springfield IL Sep 22 2012A touching speech was made by a woman  in her fifties who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease three years ago and her caregiver husband, both of whom stressed fighting as long as possible and dealing with the diagnosis as best they could.

Colorful pinwheels were given to participants and held proudly to designate roles of those in attendance – purple for those who have lost loved ones, blue for those currently living with Alzheimer’s, yellow for caregivers, and orange for advocates. These pinwheels spun out of control at times as the wind gusted. I thought this was a lovely symbol of solidarity but noticed only a couple of blue pinwheels in the crowd. Purple and yellow pinwheels were represented the most, and I proudly held my purple pinwheel in memory of my own mother, who lost her battle with Alzheimer’s in 2009.

Pinwheel from Walk to End Alzheimers Springfield IL Sep 22 2012The walk after the brief rally was somber and befitting the occasion as we all walked together around Southwind Park, each silently hopeful that some day there will be a cure found to stop the suffering from this horrible and frightful disease. I thought about my mother and family as I walked on their behalf, and I reflected on my greatest wish the entire time. Please let there be a world without Alzheimer’s disease for my children and their children.


Vacation, Had To Get Away!

Saugatuck, Michigan VacationAhhhh, vacation! I’ve just returned from some much needed rest and relaxation in the quaint town of Saugatuck, Michigan. Unlike previous travels, this vacation was not overly planned and turned out perfect for that very reason. Without an agenda or checklist of activities, I was free to sleep as late as I wanted and linger where I was most content. I ate at some fantastic restaurants, played card games with my family, and watched the summer Olympics too.

Over two blissful summer days, Oval Beach was the perfect spot to lounge and read under a sun umbrella to the calming sound of waves lapping the sandy shore – two books finished in five days. I am refreshed and renewed, once again ready to charge back into my personal and professional pursuits, full steam ahead!


Alzheimer’s Association Forget Me Not Days

Forget Me Not Alzheimer's diseaseI’ve just received my marching orders to participate as a volunteer in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Forget Me Not Days annual fundraiser. On Saturday, May 19, I’ll be working at a local grocery store raising awareness of Alzheimer’s while collecting donations and handing out packets of Forget-Me-Not flower seeds to plant in honor of those currently suffering from this disease. I’m looking forward to helping with this national initiative in my own small way right here in my own hometown. Maybe I’ll see you next Saturday during the Alzheimer’s Association Forget Me Not Days? If not, watch for others out there in your community and please help if you can to support those suffering from or caring for a loved one with this horrible disease.

Dementia Film from the Inside Looking Out

You're Looking At Me Like I Live Here And I Don't, dementia film by Scott KirschenbaumMake sure you catch the new Alzheimer’s film “You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t” by Scott Kirschenbaum. It is currently airing on PBS stations nationwide and shows dementia from the perspective of someone afflicted with the disease, specifically a woman in California named Lee Gorewitz.

This is an unusual and startling perspective to witness this disease from, and the description of this film reminds me of the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova, although much farther along in the progression of the illness. I have this set on my DVR already to watch, check your local PBS listings and search for the program “Independent Lens” to find it. I’ll share my thoughts after I watch it, and I’d love to know what you think about it too. Please check it out and come back to comment.

Image and information courtesy of The New York Times

Family Caregivers Local Author Event at Barnes and Noble

It was such a treat to participate in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers book signing yesterday at Barnes & Noble as a contributing author along with Jean Ferratier. I want to thank the Springfield, Illinois Barnes & Noble for hosting this local author event, and I’d especially like to thank everyone who came by to see us over the two hours we were at the bookstore. Jean and I both had the opportunity to discuss and read excerpts from our stories. I feel so fortunate to have my story included in this book, and it was wonderful to talk with other caregivers and hear their feedback on my story. So many people shared their own caregiving stories, and it was a privilege to be entrusted with this personal information. Here are some photos that capture this special event celebrating family caregivers everywhere.


Chicken Soup for the Springfield Soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul Family Caregivers full book cover

Here is the story behind my story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers – Kathleen H. Wheeler

Chicken Soup for the Soul inspirational book series responsible for bringing two Springfield, Illinois writers together as friends and contributing authors in new Family Caregivers release.

Ladle up a double bowl of chicken soup with a distinct Springfield flavor courtesy of local authors Kathleen H. Wheeler and Jean Ferratier. Both of these central Illinois writers have stories featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers to be released on March 13, 2012. The newest title in the inspirational book series includes 101 stories of love, sacrifice and bonding as support and encouragement to family members caring for loved ones with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

It is more than just a coincidence that Wheeler and Ferratier are featured together in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers. The inspirational book series is actually responsible for bringing these two authors together in the first place. Wheeler introduced herself to Ferratier after learning about her publication in Think Positive through the local newspaper.

“Jean and I share common interests and life experiences, and I felt certain she was someone I needed to get to know better,” says Wheeler. “We were both caregivers for mothers afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, and we both felt it was necessary to write about the life-changing lessons we learned from that experience. I contacted Jean through LinkedIn, and our relationship progressed naturally from that point.”

After corresponding and sharing advice, the two stayed in touch, eventually met, and attended an author lecture together. When a call for entries in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers went out, Ferratier urged Wheeler to submit a story for consideration along with hers.

Fortunately, stories from both Ferratier and Wheeler were selected for inclusion in the book, and the two friends are thrilled to share the spotlight together as featured authors in the same publication.

Continue reading “Chicken Soup for the Springfield Soul” »