My camino is now memory. It was a wonderful experience and looking back from here, even though I still have evidence one month later of my blisters, I think how much I enjoyed the walk. Taking the opportunity to knit my socks on the way makes the trip that much more memorable. Not least is the fact that these socks have a knitted scallop shell, an important symbol of the Camino. Now I have a pair of socks that, when I wear them, will remind me of all the wonderful people I met and all the photograph albums I’m going to be in.
(Click on a photo to enlarge your view. All photos by my husband Geordie Facey.)
But others are losing their memories. Alzheimers disease is robbing them of the memories they had stored over the years, leaving them shells of their former selves. I’ve experienced it first hand with my husband’s mother Ruby who over the last 10 years of her life slowly but surely lost all memory of her life. It was a sad experience, and one that many many people experience as loved family members sink into that difficult netherworld.
Alzheimers societies around the world are an important part of the support network that exists to help those afflicted with this disease and their families as they learn to deal with the complex changes which their loved ones experience. They also support research that works to discover treatments that alleviate some of the symptoms, and one day they hope to discover enough to eradicate the disease. It’s a long difficult road but it is being walked by dedicated scientists, doctors, practitioners and caregivers.
It is for this reason that I write this latest entry in my blog. Over the course of my walk on the Camino de Santiago I was thrilled to have family, old friends and new friends make donations to AlzheimersBC to support their efforts to make inroads into support and treatment of Alzheimers.
I’m asking those of you who have not made a donation to consider making one now. Just look at the right sidebar of this blog and you will see the link to Sponsor Me on my Journey. Yes, my journey is over, but the work to eradicate Alzheimers is ongoing. It’s a path that people walk every day.
Recently a friend recommended a wonderful book which recounts the experiences of one woman on her journey into Alzheimers. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. It is unusual in that it is a first person experience. Alice herself narrates this story; not her family, not her doctors, but Alice’s own voice is the star here. We get to experience with Alice her losses, but also her great strength as a human being, a woman who has given much to the world and now finds herself losing the things that made her who she is. For those of you who have not had direct experience of the devastating effects of Alzheimers disease, this will give you great insight.
If you donate through my site you are donating to AlzheimersBC in Canada. Some of you may wish to donate to an Alzheimers society in your own province or country. I encourage you to do so. If you can, please make a note that your donation was inspired by my blog – http://www.knittingthecamino.wordpress.com. I would also appreciate it if you made a comment on my blog letting me know that you have made a donation.
Although it is difficult to include the donation sites for every Alzheimers group around the world, I have linked here to some of the sites for English speaking countries. A simple search on your favourite search engine will find the society in your own country. Please consider making a donation wherever you wish.
To get back to my journey and my knitting, I will leave you with this. Research has shown that both regular exercise and working with tasks such as knitting, allow our brains and bodies to stave off the potential for Alzheimers. So get out your knitting needles, knit yourself some socks and go on a long walk.