Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Legendary Country Singer, Glen Campbell's Dies

Glen Campbell's public Alzheimer's battle set his legacy

On television and on stage, Glen Campbell was a superstar with boyish good looks, a flashy smile and wit, but it was his last performance on screen that exposed a more vulnerable side that touched many of his fans.
Campbell, one of the most popular entertainers of the 1960s and 1970s and singer of such familiar songs as "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Wichita Lineman," died on Tuesday at the age of 81, according to his family. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011 and rather than retreating, went on a farewell tour that dealt with his illness and decline with the same candor he'd addressed his relationship troubles and addiction struggles earlier in his life.
His struggles to continue performing and recording after the diagnosis was the subject of an award-winning 2014 documentary called "Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me." The last original song he wrote and recorded for the film, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," won a Grammy for best country song in 2015 and was nominated for an Oscar for best original song. The film's soundtrack also won a Grammy in 2016.
The documentary, which chronicled his 2011-2012 farewell tour, offered a poignant look at his decline from Alzheimer's while showcasing his virtuoso guitar chops that somehow continued to shine even as his memory unraveled. His family became his caregivers. His band backed him up on stage when he forgot chords and his fans would finish the song when he forgot the lyrics.
Those involved with the film said he remained happy and upbeat throughout the production, always telling jokes to get a laugh.
"He wanted to tell the story of his Alzheimer's disease," said director James Keach, who also directed the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." ''He was told to hang up the guitar and instead he proudly walked out and said, 'This is who I am. There's no shame in my game and I am going to go out singing the song.' That was Glen."
Caregivers and family members of those with the disease immediately connected to the film that showed him trying to navigate with confusion what once had been familiar places for him, such his home, the stage or the recording studio. The film also helped remove some of the stigma associated with the disease.
"Glen was a courageous advocate on behalf of Alzheimer's, not only bravely sharing his diagnosis with the world, but continuing to bring joy to his fans through his music while facing the disease so publicly," Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association wrote in a statement. "Glen and his family helped to bring Alzheimer's out of the shadows and into the spotlight with openness and honesty that has rallied people to take action on behalf of the cause."
"I had people come up after the film who had family members or themselves had Alzheimer's who said, 'I no longer feel ashamed,'" Keach said.
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You," which was recorded with members of Phil Spector's famous Wrecking Crew band, was based on a comment that Campbell mentioned to his co-writer and producer Julian Raymond when people would bring up his disease.
"He said, 'It's not like I am going to miss anybody anyway,'" Raymond said. "It's a strange title but he said it, and I know what he was trying to say."
The lyrics start off "I'm still here, but yet I'm gone/I don't play guitar or sing my songs." It was a farewell song to the people he loved, but with the message that he would be OK as the disease progressed.
Ashley Campbell, one of his daughters who played in her father's band and was one of his caregivers, said in an interview with The Associated Press in May that her father's honesty with the illness helped so many families.
"Just because my dad is a celebrity doesn't mean he doesn't have the same problems like other families are going through," Campbell said. "It was nice to know that we helped people not feel so alone."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

He was his wife’s caretaker for decades but got dementia. Their deaths were ‘horrific’

Ron and Mary Tarnowski’s lives were confined almost entirely to their home in Duluth, Minnesota.
Decades ago, at age 42, Mary Tarnowski suffered from a stroke that left her paralyzed on the right side of her body, making it difficult for her to move or speak. Her husband, Ron, served as her caretaker for more than 35 years, assisting her with daily tasks and rarely leaving her side.
But in recent years, Ron Tarnowski, an Air Force veteran and retired captain for the local fire department, began showing signs of early-onset dementia, his son and police told The Washington Post. Suddenly, the tough man with a “commanding presence,” adventurous spirit and the build of a former football player needed to be taken care of, too.
Getting around became even more difficult for the Tarnowskis - Mary, 78, and Ron, 81. The couple hardly ever left the home which their son, Karl Tarnowski, built adjacent to his own so he could keep an eye on them.
Occasionally, Mary Tarnowski would ask her husband to go for a drive, perhaps to nearby restaurants. But they never stayed away for very long and would always be back well before nightfall.
“When the sun sets they’ve always been home,” Karl Tarnowski, the younger of the couple’s two sons, said in an interview with The Washington Post.
So it was troubling when, on the evening of July 29, Karl Tarnowski and his wife found the elderly couple’s home empty, and their Chevy Tahoe gone.
Mary and Ron Tarnowski had driven away that day without telling anyone. They left behind a cellphone, Mary’s wheelchair and purse, and their medications. At 10 p.m., their worried children called the police to report them missing.
For the next seven days, the family, law enforcement and hundreds of community members in Duluth launched an extensive search effort that covered thousands of miles.
Relatives and local authorities posted fliers all over the surrounding area and posted updates on a Facebook group called “Find Ron and Mary Tarnowski,” which was followed by more than 7,000 people across Minnesota and the U.S. Retired Duluth firefighters joined the search for one of their own.
Duluth residents tied purple ribbons around trees and on businesses, in honor of the Alzheimer’s Association. They held news conferences outside of the Tarnowski’s home attended by the Duluth police chief and about 100 community members.
A Facebook page dedicated to finding Ron Tarnowski, 82, and Mary Tarnowski, 78, of Minnesota posted video of the couple entering a business at a store near Brookston. The surveillance video was captured on July 29, 2017. The couple was found dead on Saturday, August 5, 2017.
Find Ron and Mary Tarnowski/Facebook
Relatives and police officials weighed several possible theories of where the couple could have gone. Perhaps they had headed northwest to Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where their sons had been spending the day. Maybe they were stopping by their family’s hunting shack, about 30 miles away from their Duluth home.
On Saturday afternoon, eight days after the couple went missing, the family received their answer, and a tragic end to their strenuous search. A U.S. Border Patrol helicopter found the couple’s Chevy Tahoe on an overgrown, abandoned driveway in a swampy area off the road just two miles away from the family’s hunting property. They were near Brookston, a town about 30 miles from their Duluth home.
Mary’s Tarnowski’s body was discovered inside the Tahoe, and her husband’s body was found outside of the vehicle, about 50 feet from the road.
Authorities believe Ron Tarnowski may have driven onto the trail accidentally before getting his car stuck in the mud, said Lt. Mike Ceynowa, public information officer for the Duluth Police Department. He said police think Tarnowski left the vehicle in order to seek help.
Autopsy results are still pending, but Karl Tarnowski said there are signs that his mother died of a combination of dehydration and heat while sitting in the car on a day with temperatures in the upper 80s. There is also evidence that Ron Tarnowski had fallen down while trudging through the mud, his son said.
Both are believed to have died on July 29, the day they first went missing, the son said. No foul play is expected, according to authorities.
Karl Tarnowski does not know what prompted his parents to drive so far away but suspects his father’s dementia played a role. His father rarely visited the hunting cabin in recent years, and he never traveled there without one of his two sons. Even then, he would be on edge, wanting to hurry home before sundown to take care of his wife.
The morning before they went missing, “everything seemed totally normal,” Karl Tarnowski said. His wife gave his mother a bath, and cooked the couple some breakfast. Later that morning, he left town for the day, telling his father, “see ya later, Papa.”
“He said ‘take your time, but hurry back’,” Tarnowski said. “He said, ‘we’ll be here anyway, we never go anywhere’.”
Evidence uncovered during the course of the seven-day search revealed some details about the rest of their day. The couple stopped by a local Wells Fargo Bank, where Ron Tarnowski withdrew an amount of cash typical for him. Then, they stopped at a restaurant for lunch, Karl Tarnowski said.
At some point afterward, they headed northwest on Highway 2 toward their hunting property. It was a “beautiful” summer day, Ceynowa, the police spokesman said, “a day we all hope for in the north.”
A video from security cameras showed the couple in one of their final moments, walking through a bar and grill in Brookston, Minnesota, possibly hours before their vehicle got stuck.
The surveillance footage captured the extent of the couple’s immobility. They could be seen slowly walking into the restaurant. Ron Tarnowski led the way, trudging along with his cane and holding his wife’s hand as she walked behind him, dragging a leg. It took 16 minutes for the couple to take a bathroom break, Karl Tarnowski said.
“It’s a horrific case,” Ceynowa said. “Nobody wants to lose their parents this way.”
But in the parents’ final moments, Ceynowa said, “their dad was doing what he’s done for years, trying to help his wife and take care of her.”
Indeed, caring for his wife became a taxing responsibility for Ron Tarnowski. And in recent years, his mental deterioration became a challenge for his wife, their son said.
But throughout these tribulations, Karl Tarnowski said, “their love was outstanding for one another.” They were married for 59 years.
Ron Tarnowski joined the Air Force before even graduating high school, and was stationed in the Philippines for a long time, his son said. As a father, he could be a “kind of harsh person,” but with a “heart of gold,” Karl Tarnowski said. He actively volunteered with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization.
He would offer to work on welding projects for neighbors and friends, and would always say “this weld is guaranteed,” Tarnowski recounted. “If it breaks I’ll weld it again.”
Mary Tarnowski was a “big-hearted” mother who “loved people,” and always looked forward to playing cards with friends. Before her stroke, she volunteered with the census every 10 years, participated in her children’s parent-teacher associations, and made sure everything in the home was organized. She never had a driver’s license, so her husband would frequently drive her around town.
“They went everywhere together,” Mark Lavalier, a retired firefighter who worked with Ron Tarnowski for several years and who assisted with this week’s search efforts. “You’d never see one without the other.”
The story of the missing couple resonated with families across the state, particularly those with elderly parents, Lavalier said.
“Everybody’s got parents, everybody watches them get old and realizes they become vulnerable,” Lavalier said. “That’s what people reacted to. This could be my parents, this could be everybody’s parents.”
The story of the Tarnowskis also underscored the dangers vulnerable adults can face when they leave home with no way of being reached or tracked. The OnStar device on the Chevy Tahoe was not activated, and neither Tarnowski was accustomed to carrying and using a cellphone.
Karl Tarnowski urged the importance of making sure vulnerable adults carry GPS tracking devices or cellphones at all times.
“If there’s any positive outcome to this,” he said, is that perhaps, “it’s going to help somebody else find their parents someday.”

Friday, June 9, 2017

JUNE is Alzheimers & Brain Awareness Month!

Don't forget to wear your purple all in the month of June! June is dedicated to Alzheimer's and Brain awareness. Here is the link to a wonderful video I put together for Alzheimer's. My artistic approach.

This morning I was inspired by the Alzheimer's Association.   I am going to put a second video together discussing what I first saw with my grandma. I saw this really awesome video done by the Alzheimer's Association. Check it out on their Facebook page. Here is the link.

They have Samuel L. Jackson in the opening talking about his best friend, his grandpa who was the first in his family to have Alzheimer's.  The next person that got it was his mom. I am so grateful for meeting him just by chance in Honolulu at the Airport.  

He told me his mother passed away from Alzheimer's. I knew right then and their after I told him of my volunteer work that I do with Alzheimer's that my grandma had made that moment for me happen.  Stay tuned! 

#endalz #beverlyjean #purpledignity #remembermyphoto #kickalzintheballz #formygrandma #grandmabev 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

City of Reno Proclamation: June is Alzheimer & Brain Awareness Month!

Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month
City of Reno, Nevada Proclamation
William! Thank you for your hard work
and dedication to END ALZ!

Today the Office of the Mayor & The City of Reno, Nevada (my home town) announced the Proclamation for June as Alzheimer’s and Brain awareness month 2017!  The battle for this disease is far from over.  Researchers continue to do their part in finding medications that can help patients that are living with Alzheimer’s.  They are also trying to find a cure.

Left to Right: Bob (A Nevadian Living with Alz) Jacob Harmon,
Regional Director, Northern Nevada Alzheimer's Association.
Brooke Westlake-Kelley (Me)

Please join me. Wear your purple. June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month!  

And don’t forget JUNE 21st is the longest day. The longest day honors those who are caregivers and those living with Alzheimer’s. My team link is below.

City of Reno, Proclamation, JUNE Alzheimer's  and
Brian Awareness Month.

Any donation amount is greatly appreciated.Or please consider purchasing one of my Beverly’s Angels magnets, or a pair of Beverly’s Angel Earrings. You can order through my Esty account or message me directly:

Beverly's Angel Earrings. Petite Pair: $10.00 each

Beverly's Angels Magnets. Purple amethyst stone with a
purple angel on top. $10.00 each.

Friday, June 2, 2017

We MUST Protect Them!

I was court appointed as my grandma's guardian conservator because her third husband was not carrying for her properly, but has also cleared out the "joint" bank account. It is sick what people will do, but re-assured they will get caught. We must protect our elderly and those with Alzheimer's and dementia. I am happy to see that this man was caught.

Reno man guilty in Nevada guardian abuse case sentenced to prison

A 27-year-old Reno man who had been named guardian of his father's affairs has been sentenced to two to 10 years in state prison for looting his family financial accounts.
Nevada state Attorney General Adam Laxalt said Thursday that Yohannes Habtemicael also was ordered to pay $88,000 in restitution.
Habtemicael's attorney, Lee Hotchkin, says there's little chance the money will ever be paid with his client in prison.
He had hoped for a court probation program so Habtemicael could get the charge dismissed after completing restitution.
Habtemicael was appointed by a court in 2014 as guardian of 67-year-old Tewolde Habtemicael's estate.
He pleaded guilty in March to felony exploitation of an older person.
His case is one of several in Nevada involving guardians accused of pilfered money from wards of the court.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Parents racing to save toddler from 'childhood Alzheimer's'

A Massachusetts couple is in a race against time to save their 13-month-old son from an extremely rare, fatal disease often referred to as “childhood Alzheimer’s.”
Last month, Purnell “Nell” Sabky was diagnosed with the genetic disorder Niemann-Pick Type A, and doctors told his parents that, without intervention, he likely would not live to see his third birthday.
Niemann-Pick Type A is caused by a lack of a specific enzyme, and the disorder prevents the body from metabolizing fat, which leads fat to accumulate around the organs. Patients typically develop an enlarged liver and spleen by 3 months old, and fail to gain weight and grow normally. At around age 1, patients with the disease usually begin to experience a progressive loss of mental abilities and movement, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
“In addition to the complications of his body, he’ll start to grow distant from us,” Sam Sabky, Nell’s father, told Boston 25. “He won’t be able to smile, he won’t be able to laugh, and that’s really the hardest part to deal with.”
With no treatment or cure available, the Sabkys’ doctor told Sam and his wife, Taylor Sabky, that a genetic therapy was on the horizon but that a lack of funding was preventing it from moving forward. They are now racing to raise $750,000 by the end of June with the hopes of treating Nell before his disease progresses much more.
“You think of all the things that your child has ahead of him, and then you hear something like this, and it cuts short all those dreams and wishes,” Taylor told Boston 25. “We want him to have a future, to grow up, to do the small things like saying ‘mama’ and ‘dada,’ to do more long-term things. You think about him getting married, you know, what he’s going to do for a career.”
The money raised will go to the Wylder Nation Foundation, which is working with researchers at the University of California San Francisco’s Bankiewicz Laboratory to make the treatment available to patients, Boston 25 reported. While Nell would be the first patient to enroll in trials, the family is aware of how delicate the timeline is.
“We can dictate this timeline on our terms and try to give him a shot at life,” Sam told Boston 25. “And at the very worst, we can take comfort at the fact that we move the ball forward for maybe the next kid or the kid after that. And that’s a legacy we’d be really proud that Purnell left on the world.”
As of Thursday, the family’s GoFundMe page had received more than $191,000 in donations.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Longest Day-Alzheimer's Fundraiser

I am partaking in the 2017 The Longest Day. Go to my page to make a donation. 
Here is the link

You can also help me raise money for the Longest Day by purchasing either a Beverly's Angel Magnet or Beverly's Angel Earrings. Right now I have 48 magnets ready fly away to new homes. 

To order your Beverly's Angel Magnet, Email me at:
Magnet inventory listed below.

8-Large purple crystal magnets with large purple angels.  $15.00 each plus shipping

Large Angel Crystal Magnets

10-Purple angel magnets with small silver angels. $10.00 each plus shipping

Small Silver Angel Magnets

20-Purple angel magnets with small purple angels. $10.00 each plus shipping
Small Purple Angel Magnets

7-Purple angel magnets with large purple angels.  $10.00 each plus shipping

To order your Beverly's Angel Magnet, Email me at: