When asked how many years she’s been participating in the Alzheimer Walks, Joanne Does said she wasn’t sure, but probably about 10 years. Actually, Joanne first attended in 2004, so it’s been more than 10 years! At that time, Joanne’s mother, Mary, was living with Alzheimer’s disease, finally succumbing to it on Christmas Day, 2008.
Joanne says she participated in the Walks to support her mom – but Joanne did a lot more than simply attend the Walks! Over the years that her mom was living with dementia, Joanne wrote and recorded several songs in honour of her mom and generously donated those recordings to the Alzheimer Society of Oxford. Those CDs were sold at our Walks, as well as at other events. Many of our clients and volunteers have copies of these CD’s – “I’ll Walk You Home” and “Remember Me” are two beautiful songs that come to mind. When available, Joanne often sang one of her songs during the Lights of Hope part of the Walks – when not available, one of her CD’s was often played.
Joanne finds the Lights of Hope an especially meaningful part of the Walk, saying “It really brings us together – it’s a quiet time during which we can reflect on our loved ones, without being distracted by everything else that’s going on at the Walk. It’s a time to walk together with everyone else that is on this journey and really feel connected to each other.”
Joanne would encourage others to participate in the Walks: “Alzheimer’s Disease can be tough. It is much easier when you know you are not alone. Walking with your loved one validates them - it is a tangible way to show your support.”
Thank you so much, Joanne, for all you have done and continue to do for the Alzheimer Society of Oxford!