Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Join Jasmine and Jasper in supporting Alzheimer's research

An e-mail from Jasmine Showers:


In 2010 both my maternal and paternal grandmothers died from Alzheimer’s disease. My brother and I grew up in close contact with our maternal grandmother, whom we called Momonee. She was wonderful; both of our grandmas were warm, comforting, and accepting people. Over the last five years I witnessed Momonee’s mental decline as the disease grew more advanced. I saw her anger and confusion as she struggled to remember moments of her life, and later when she tried to remember how to eat, dress, and talk. The worst parts to watch were the sudden moments of clarity – the times she knew something was very wrong and realized that she had no control over the situation. Author Thomas DeBiaggo was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s and described the experience of the disease as “the closest thing to being eaten alive slowly.”

As the brain is slowly devoured and gradually succumbs, turning the body into an empty vessel, remembering and writing are more than difficult; they are cold receptacles emptied of content. My memories are slowly disappearing from places inhabited for so long. In themselves, my memories do not compare with the great sagas of this century, the births, deaths, tumult, madness, great art and music, and the intense suffering of so many human beings. Our immortality, such as it may be, is not contained in what we dreamed or the secrets we kept; it is how our friends and loved ones remember us. - Losing My Mind, Thomas DeBiaggo, 2003.

My brother and I want to contribute in remembering our grandmothers. After considering Momonee’s lifelong dedication to reading, writing, and learning, we decided it would be appropriate to try and raise a tribute donation for Alzheimer’s research. On May 6, we are both running the Santa Barbara Wine Country ½ Marathon in memory of our grandparents. http://www.runsantaynez.com/

Please consider sponsoring us as we run to raise a tribute donation. We started a blog where family and friends can post pictures or memories. If you feel like you would like to give a little in Helen or Jean’s honor (or to support Alzheimer's research for someone else you know) please follow the “donate” button on the blog. The donations will be compiled in a donation paypal account that Jasper created and then go to Alzheimer’s research through the Alzheimer’s Association:http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp

Link to blog:http://momonee-grandmashowers-tribut.blogspot.com/


  1. Thank you, Jasmine and Jasper, for this worthwhile way of honoring your grandmothers. I loved working with "Miss Helen" at Kemper when she was a senior aide and loved by all. She enjoyed being called Miss Helen when I later saw her at Vista Mesa. Ann Haspels

  2. glad to find someone else who has read Thomas De Biaggo...
    Lots of questions about the theology of dementias...
    Two other references -- Michael Ignatieff's novel "Scar Tissue" -- actually about his own mother's descent into dementia; and a much acclaimed film, "Away From Her" (Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent) based on an Alice Munro short story, "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" -- both recommended, if you haven't encountered them already!