Between your morning coffee and lunch hour, someone else in our province will develop dementia.
As the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, I hope you will take the time to read the story of Dr. Brent Chappell – a radiologist from Saskatoon and Alzheimer Society supporter, whose family knows the effects of dementia all too well.
Plus – I am very pleased to announce that your donations will be matched up to $50,000 by our very generous donor and supporter - Kevin Stricker of Fries Tallman Lumber!
- Joanne Bracken, CEO – Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
A Beautiful Mind - By Dr. Brent Chappell
Dementia of one type or another has been a big thing in my family.
Dad’s started a long time ago – probably when he was around 65, when he retired from medicine.
He was a physician. A surgeon. He had such a beautiful mind.
I’m biased but I really do think my dad was the smartest person I’ve ever known, and, through my career, I’ve known a bunch of really smart people.
His colleagues called him the surgeon’s surgeon. If another physician or surgeon was ill and might need an operation, they usually called Dad. And not just because he was skilled with his hands – though he surely was - but even more importantly, they knew he would think things through. Dad was just good at thinking about anything.
I think I was the first one to notice something was wrong. Dad and I went on a golf trip to Scotland together – a bucket list type-of-trip. Golf is one of the things he and I share. During the trip, it struck me that he just wasn’t quite right. The keenness, the sharpness of him seemed the tiniest bit dulled.
It was very subtle then and that was over 20 years ago. He’s in his late 80s now.
Eventually it became unmanageable. And that was devastating for everyone, including him. You pass milestones, like the first time he couldn’t remember my name or wasn’t sure who I was when I visited. One of the very few things his mind can still do is to understand that it can’t understand anything. It’s an unfathomable and precious miracle what any of our minds can do.
It’s a horrible tragedy if this happens to anyone – any of the countless millions who have been taken by this disease. But why did it have to take him? Why did it have to destroy that beautiful, beautiful mind?
We need to figure this out. We need to understand what’s happening to my Dad’s brain. We need a treatment. We need a cure. We need to find a way of stopping it from ever even beginning in anyone.
We also need programs and services for the individuals, families, and care partners who are affected by dementia, right now.
Alzheimer’s disease is just so tragically underfunded. It’s a matter of time, effort, and money before breakthrough treatments or a cure comes along.
When the opportunity came along to help with fundraising at the Alzheimer Society, the feeling of helplessness that my family and I felt decreased. We were so pleased to feel like we were doing something that could help.
How it is now is not okay. We need to make Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias a health priority. It’s not optional.
Thank you for taking the time to read Dr. Brent Chappell's story. I am asking you to make a donation today in support of our vital programs, services, and research efforts.
Support changes everything for people living with dementia and their care partners.
Chief Executive Officer