Monday, October 11, 2010

A Little Purple

A couple years ago I wrote a post about Susan G. Komen and her sister. I wrote about how I was intrigued by the whole pink movement and the awareness of breast cancer it built. At one time breast cancer was a taboo subject and women (men, too) suffered in anonymity. Today people openly talk about it and thousands of dollars are poured into research and creating better ways of treating it. And, today, there are support groups for people with cancer so that they can talk to others who understand what they are going through.

I have a friend who is a breast cancer survivor. She talks freely about her cancer. She can do so because Susan G. Komen made it okay to talk about boobies. This friend is committed to supporting others on their cancer journey. She supports the good work that Susan G. Komen does and she is grateful for the gains made because of this work.

When I wrote my post about going purple for dementia I didn’t do it for recognition. The thing about Susan G. Komen is that few people know her sister’s name; the sister who started the whole movement lives in the background. She doesn’t mind that. It’s not about her; it’s about Susan and the millions of others who deal with cancer. True, someday I’d like people to be aware of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia as they are about breast cancer. I want to help remove the stigma of dementia. And, like Susan’s sister I want people to understand the harshness of this disease so that they are moved to action.

Understanding is so important. The other morning I had the radio on in the car. The morning show was doing a quiz related to pop culture. The young caller said, “Oh I can’t remember the name of the star’s character. I’ve got Alzheimer’s.” And they all laughed at that. Susan could talk about her breast cancer and these days people with dementia are the butt of jokes. So I write and I talk and I post on Facebook about LBD and dementia. If the nation had a go purple day or month more people would know that there isn’t anything funny about dementia.

Dementia patients wish they’d forget inane stuff like the names of stars in movies. Instead they forget their spouse, children, and grandchildren. They forget how to feed themselves and dress themselves. They lose bits and pieces of who they have been all their life. Large parts of who they are get locked away inside them while the world goes on and mocks their illness. It’s a tragedy of growing proportions.

This week the LBDA is hosting the first ever Awareness Week for LBD. It’s an opportunity to bring a little purple to the world and with that purple some awareness of what dementia really is and what it does to the person and their family and friends.

So the next time you see a pink ribbon or the color purple stop a minute to remember the real people living with these diseases lest we forget that there are people behind them and they are dealing with these illnesses every single day.

How can you help?

  • Share this post with your friends.

  • Visit the LBDA web site

  • Come back Wednesday for another LBD post.

  • Become an awareness member on Facebook. LBDA Awareness Page on Facebook (make sure you log into Facebook before clicking the will then take you to the awareness page.)

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