Don’t feel sorry for Mae Noble. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself.
“Yes, I have Alzheimer’s disease. I hope it doesn’t progress too quickly, but if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen. I’ve been living well since my diagnosis two years ago, and I’m not dead yet,” she said with a smile on her face. “I’m going to continue with my half acre of garden plots, sailing with my husband and family, and enjoying travelling around in our motor home or little sports car.”
My big goal is to educate others about this disease and hopefully to be of help.
Noble has been a hardworking woman all of her life. She worked as a cleaner at the Haida Inn for 35 years, and raised her close-knit family. Alzheimer’s disease has been a presence in her life for three generations. As a young child she remembers her grandmother having what was then described as ‘spells.’ Her mother was later diagnosed with the disease, as was Noble two years ago at age 76. Around the time of her diagnosis, her brother who was a high school teacher in Ontario visited, and she sat him down to tell him that she had Alzheimer’s. He said “I’ve been diagnosed with it as well.”
How does she cope? “
Here’s what I do, “she said. “I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m going to learn to live with the disease. I make certain that people know I have Alzheimer’s and if I mess up I make a joke of it. I play solitaire on the computer, I do my own shopping and banking, I still cook, and I’m very active physically. I spend a lot of time with my family and I laugh a lot.”
She has three pieces of advice for others with Alzheimer’s.
“Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t let people take over the things you can do for yourself. Make certain that people know that you have Alzheimer’s. Ask for help when you need it, and if you mess up make a joke of it and keep going.”
It’s no surprise that she has been chosen to be honoured this year by the Alzheimer Society of BC North Island Investor’s Group Walk for Memories. The Walk is the main fundraiser for the Society.
“This is the first year that we are holding the Investor’s Group Walk for Memories in Campbell River, said Pat Redhead, co-chair of the fundraising walk that will take place on Jan. 29 in the Campbell River Common at 1 p.m.
The North Island Walk which has previously been held in the Courtenay will now alternate annually between the two communities.
“Mae has worked tirelessly as a community leader over the years,” Redhead said. “She helped start the Independent Order of Foresters Campbell River, was one of the founding members of the local Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group and was an active member of the Eagles. She and her husband also undertook the mammoth job of organizing and running the local Salmon Festival one year.”
Noble recalls the early days when she was helping to form an Alzheimer’s support group here in Campbell River.
One of their prime fundraising efforts was to go to all of the garage sales in the area and pick up everything that wasn’t sold.
Then Noble and her husband Bruce would take it home and have their own big garage sale to raise money for the new support group. The first expenditures were on books and educational materials.
“There wasn’t a lot of information available back then.” she said.
Noble will be recognized for her contributions to her community in Campbell River, her leadership and her work with the local Alzheimer’s support group, and for her courage and good humour as she lives with her disease and as she helps others by sharing her experience.
The North Island Investors Group Walk for Memories will be held indoors at the wheel chair accessible Campbell River Common on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 1 p.m. Registration starts at noon.
There will be a clown and face painting for children and the young at heart, a square dancing demonstration, and a fun warm- up.
It’s easy to register. Go to www.walkformemories.com or call 1-800-667-3742. Let’s get walking for Mae Noble and the more 70,000 individuals and families in B.C. who are living with dementia.