Meet our Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer's Tri-Cities and Ridge Meadow honourees: Brent and Sally Hoag
One cold, rainy Ontario night, Brent Hoag was back in his hometown on a break from university and out for a drive with his friend. Brent’s buddy at the wheel spotted a girl in the distance, turned to Brent, and playing matchmaker, said, “That’s Sally Walton. You should meet her.” So they pulled over and offered Sally a ride. She got in the car. Sally and Brent fell in love.
Forty-six years after they met, after the days of Brent’s epic hitchhiking journeys home to visit Sally, the couple encountered another unexpected chapter in their lives. Sally was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Post-diagnosis,” Brent says, “one of the first things I remember saying was, ‘I love you and I’ve got you.’ And that’s the continuing love story of Sally and Brent.”
Since Sally was diagnosed in late 2016, the two, along with their four children, have been extremely proactive in educating themselves, accessing services through the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and sharing their experience to better the lives of people affected by dementia. The Hoags are also participating in research through the UBC Centre for Brain Health, where they urge everyone living with dementia to get involved if they can.
Despite the resources available, Sally’s diagnosis came with denial and fear. For Sally, a compassionate and astute concert pianist and world traveller, it was something she was able to face only through trust in her husband. The support of “unsung heroes” at the Alzheimer Society of B.C., Brent says, helped him rise above feelings of drowning in the experience.
“Replace and fight your ignorance and fears with knowledge and support,” Brent says. “Love the person diagnosed harder and more demonstrably than you have before, and more than you ever thought you could. You are more resilient than you think you are.”
Walk with Brent and Sally at the Tri-Cities and Ridge Meadows Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer's on Sunday, May 6. Together, we make memories matter.