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Putting Her Lips On

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“Powder and paint make a girl what she ain’t.” Our mother, Honey, signed up for Metairie Beauty School when she was 35. She was a loving mom who always knew the meaning of hard work and was determined to make a better life for her five kids.

Honey always said, “The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks.” Well, the difference between your world before someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and after is everything. Your whole life changes in an instant. Honey was 72 when we first started seeing signs of dementia. We watched this vivacious, sparkling, beautiful woman, whose conversations were filled with “Honeyisms” about life and beauty, gradually become fearful, confused, apprehensive and withdrawn. We knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know what until the diagnosis in November 2007.

Our mom was in denial after the diagnosis, and so were we. We couldn’t even say the word Alzheimer’s. When she was forgetful, we covered for her. When she needed a wheelchair, we played it off, saying, “Oh, you’re so lucky. You get to ride around all day.”

“Plan your work and work your plan.” We really did believe she could overcome this. We went to a local research doctor and spent a year travelling the country looking for help, from California to Florida. We did experimental treatments with a local doctor, and even met with Dr. Daniel Amen, who wrote Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.
Eventually, we settled into the routine we have now. Honey lives at home with our dad and receives excellent private care. For years, she still put on her lipstick every morning. “Let me put my lips on.” But now she doesn’t walk, talk or even put her lips on. But we still put them on for her.

We’re a family of doers. In this past year or so, as things have gotten worse, it’s become more and more frustrating that we can’t do anything but keep our mom comfortable. If Honey could talk, she would tell us to help others to not get this disease. We have become even more determined to make a difference in other people’s lives out of respect to our mom.

We invite you to join with us to stop Alzheimer’s. With one-in-three expected to have Alzheimer’s by 2050, it’s time we got serious about finding a cure.

Color for the Cure—Go Purple!
Just as pink is for breast cancer and red is for aids, the color for Alzheimer’s is purple. We came up with Color for the Cure, a month-long fundraising effort for September, which is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. H.W. Rosenblum will feature a purple tie and H2O salons will offer a $20 purple hair extension that can last for weeks, or be easily removed. Think LSU games! And on Sept. 20, all retail proceeds at H2O will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Last year, our Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised $40,000. Our clients, our friends, everyone supported Honey’s Bunch, our walking team. We were a Top 15 fundraiser nationwide. This year, we’re doing the walks on the northshore and southshore, and we’re going for Top 10. Register for one or more of these walks.

Ponchatoula/Hammond: Sat., Oct. 5, Ponchatoula Recreation Park, 8 a.m.

New Orleans: Sat., Oct. 19,
Audubon Park, 8 a.m.

Northshore: Sat., Nov. 16,
Fontainebleau State Park, 8 a.m.

To register and for more information,
visit alz.org/walk or contact
Preston Meche at (504) 648-4076.

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1 Comment

  1. You are all 3 remarkable women! Meeting you has been among the highlights of my moving back to Louisiana to do the work I do with the Alzheimer’s Association as the State Director. The leadership conference is in New Orleans this year and I look proudly forward to your marching with the Champions who are the top 10 team producers in the nation! -Chet

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