Meet Heather Wilson-Boast
Over the past decade, the Alzheimer Society of Oxford has held an outsized role in Heather Wilson-Boast’s life. She’s a member of the board of directors and, along with her family, she participates in the Walk for Alzheimer’s each year.
But she was first involved as a patron of the Alzheimer Society’s services, when her dad was diagnosed 10 years ago. Along with her siblings and their spouses, she met with support workers to help gain perspective on what was happening to their dad, who has since passed, and to help their mom.
“When my husband got the diagnosis, we were right back there, because we knew what a wonderful, supportive organization it is,” Heather says.
Heather says her husband, Charles, is “amazing.” He does everything he can to slow down the progression of the disease, from eating right to getting in regular physical activity during walks, golfing and curling. But the disease still brings challenges. That’s when they turn to the Alzheimer Society.
The organization has provided them with strategies to help deal with the disease. They also attend support groups, which gives them the opportunity to talk about the difficult times – and also find humour in their experiences.
Heather and Charles have the support of their family, too. Their daughter and two granddaughters join them for the walk each year. Extended family across the country help them raise money. And they even get donations from friends of her son, who lives in Yellowknife.
“We’re so grateful to them,” Heather says of the people who donate each year. “It’s amazing. You feel so good to see that support.”
They also feel good taking part in the Walk. It’s a fun day, Heather says, with a hopeful and energetic vibe. Her six-year-old granddaughter can’t wait to come back year after year.
Heather shares her family’s experience with the Alzheimer Society with positivity and gratitude. She wants others to know how much the organization can mean to people living with the disease.
“They’re knowledgeable. Empathetic. Compassionate. They really are just incredible. And I think it’s hard for people to do that first step in the door, but once you’re there, you’ll just feel so supported.”