When my grandmother was in her early 70s, her children and grandchildren quickly learned that something wasn't quite right. My grandfather had recently passed away and my grandmother was living alone in her house in Charlottetown. There were moments where she would forget where she lived, where she had left her car and she would frequently make dinner for herself and my grandfather, not remembering he was gone. When we went to visit her, we were never sure if she would recognize us.
Charlottetown in the 1950s was not a big city. It wasn't difficult for my grandmother, Audrey, to quickly make her mark in the community as the friendly, quick-witted wife of the local shopkeeper, Campbell Mitchell McLean, my grandfather. Audrey was a strong, intelligent woman when she was in her prime. She was always sweet to us grandkids, but wasn't afraid to put us in our place if necessary -- just as any parent should.
Mother's Day is an opportunity to thank our mothers and grandmothers for caring for, nurturing and comforting us when we're in need, and for putting us back in the right direction when we go astray. This Mother's Day, I am taking an additional step to honour Audrey. From May 13th to 15th, I will be competing in the 11th Annual Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer's in Support of Baycrest. It also just happens to be the largest charity hockey tournament in North America.
Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that can come up quickly and unexpectedly, as was the case with my grandmother.
I try to do something to benefit a charity once each year, so when my friend told me about a hockey tournament that benefits Alzheimer's research and care, I didn't have to think twice before signing up. I played hockey for 20 years when I was younger and absolutely loved it, and got back into it a few years ago.
Staying active and giving back to the community has always been important to me. Events like the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer's give participants like myself the opportunity to get out of the house, get on the ice, stay active and support a great cause. Not to mention the chance to play with my childhood hockey hero Wendel Clark and other NHL alumni.
According to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada, in 2011, 14.9 per cent of Canadians ages 65 and older were living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia and within a generation, the number of Canadians living with the disease will increase to roughly 1.4 million if nothing changes. Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that can come up quickly and unexpectedly, as was the case with my grandmother.
This Mother's Day, let's honour of our grandmothers, let's honour Audrey. Please consider contributing to get us one step closer to a world free from Alzheimer's and dementia. Every little bit helps, click here to donate.
Funds raised through the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer's support research, innovation, education and care for Alzheimer's disease at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto.
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