Community Papers

Walk steps up support for Alzheimer's

Cat Morris holds a photograph of her mother, Audrey Jackson, who passed away three years ago. At the time of her death the long-time Penticton resident suffered from Alzheimer
Cat Morris holds a photograph of her mother, Audrey Jackson, who passed away three years ago. At the time of her death the long-time Penticton resident suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and this Sunday's annual Investors Group Walk for Memories at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre will be in her honour.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Much of Audrey Jackson’s life was devoted to helping people, but even with the onslaught of the dreaded dementia of Alzheimer’s she remained true to those convictions.

After being diagnosed, it came as little surprise to friends and family her role in the early-stage support group of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. was more about others than herself.

“That was my mom, that was my mom to the end,” said her daughter Cat Morris, the middle of three children raised by Audrey and husband Bob Jackson who moved to Penticton in 1966. “That’s who she was,  just an amazing person. The kindness and the gentleness and the non-judgmental nature of her whole being.

“She touched a lot of lives in this town. When we had the celebration of her life we stopped counting at 200 people. I walked outside to talk to somebody and couldn’t get back in it was so packed.”

It was also that caring and compassion which made it fitting that on the anniversary of Audrey’s death in 2010 — Sunday’s annual Investor’s Group Walk For Memories is dedicated to her.

Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. and the walk starts at 8:30 a.m.

“In groups, Audrey was exceptionally warm and honest and supportive of other early-stage individuals,” recalled Laurie Myres, support and education co-ordinator for the society’s Penticton office.

“She just was a very nurturing and supportive person even though she had her own challenges. A lot of times this is such a huge challenge that comes into people’s lives that it’s all encompassing, and so it’s really a gift when you’re able to help others when you’re struggling yourself.

“She was definitely like that in groups, just a really gracious lady.”

Born in Wainwright, Alta. on Aug. 3, 1931, this year’s honoree grew up in Alberta and attended post secondary school in Edmonton. At age 18 she married Bob, who was playing hockey at the time and the couple travelled extensively.

Her daughter remembers hearing the stories about her parents hanging baby clothes on make-shift clotheslines in the hotel rooms until it finally came time for them to settle down permanently.

“I think mom had just finally had enough of the road and decided that was it,” said the daughter.

Audrey worked at a number of places in Penticton and volunteered at many others and quickly became known for her outgoing character and charm.

It is for that special person, and the many others who suffer from dementia-related illnesses, the Jackson family and society officials hope as many people as possible will take the time to come to Cherry Lane Sunday morning for the walk.

 

As the affected population grows, so too does the need to find a cause and cure for one of the most devastating of diseases.

 

 

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