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Special lady selected to lead Investor's Group Walk for Memories
Betty McNally, or rock ‘n’ roll granny as she’s affectionately known to the grandkids, has an unmatched zest for life.
So it was no surprise to those who know her, when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease two years ago, it only strengthened her resolve to live each day to the fullest.
“At the time it was absolutely devastating,” she said about the news from her doctor. “Especially when the next thing you hear is you can’t drive your car and you notice things being slipped out of your life and things being taken away from you.
“But then you have to learn to put something back there in its place and keep moving ahead but you don’t give up, you keep going.”
It was that inner strength, plus her compassion to continue helping others, which brought her to the attention of organizers of this year’s Investor’s Group Walk for Memories.
So on Sunday, Jan. 26, Betty, 81, and husband Jack, 83, will lead the participants in the event to raise money and awareness about the devastating illness which is often referred to as the long goodbye.
“I really do feel privileged (to be selected) because it gives other people who know me — I worked at Woodwards here for years and years — to see that old bugger’s still doing things,” said Betty.
Born in northern Ireland, she and Jack met when they were in their early teens and eventually moved to England where they married.
The couple and their two daughters and son came to Canada in the 1970s and took up permanent residence in Penticton shortly afterwards
In November, they celebrated their 61st anniversary.
“If I was in jail, I’d be out for good behaviour by now,” said Betty jokingly.
Added Jack: “That’s longer than some people have been alive.”
Like many of the thousands of other people who experience some form of dementia, Betty has her good days and some bad days but they both take it all in stride.
“It’s never an easy time. There is a lot of stress and strain but you make the best of whatever and just take it one day at a time,” said Jack. “I help with house work, keep an eye on her and we drive together everywhere. But this part of the commitment we made to each other a long time ago.”
Both expressed their huge gratitude for the programs and assistance services of the Alzheimer Society of BC and Interior Health.
According Laurie Myres, society support and education coordinator, Betty was a perfect fit as this year’s honouree.
“She’s very much a people person and this is just very natural for her,” said Myres, whose own mother had Alzheimer’s. “With Betty and Jack, we’ve got two great advocates because they’re more than happy to talk to people about what they’re going through.”
Registration for this years Walk for Memories begins at 7:45 a.m. and the event goes from 8:30 - 10 a.m.