Dementia Awareness Day in the United Kingdom - 15 September 2012
- Published on Friday, 21 September 2012 20:21
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
On 15 September 2012, the United Kingdom observed Dementia Awareness Day all across England and the United Kingdom…In the borough of Torbay in Devon, England on the extreme South Coast on a bay on the English Channel, this day was celebrated in a very special way.
Norm “Norms” McNamara spear headed a very unique way to observe this special day. - A Memorial Balloon release. –
Norm is a Poet and a Writer and a friend living in Torbay. He is also a tireless crusader and advocate for awareness and for finding a cure for the various dementia producing diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body disease. Norms has become the loudest and clearly the most effective voice in the UK today in meeting these goals…Norm can boast a working relationship with the British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Norm who has written a memorial poem dedicated to June K. Berg and published on her web site…later invited me to participate in this special “Balloon Release” by dedicating a special balloon or balloons to loved ones as memorials. The Balloons and attached messages would then be personally released by Norm on the Dementia Awareness Day as a special event in Torbay.
I was happy to participate in this very important day by making donations to Dementia Awareness Day in behalf of both my wife June K. Berg and my mother Ellen F. Silbaugh, who both died as victims of Alzheimer’s. A balloon with a special message to my wife June, and a 2nd balloon with a message to my mother Ellen were released by Norm as a part of the balloon release event...the actual balloons and messages are a part of Norm's video below. June loved the UK and became a fan as the result of June and my visits (8 times) to the UK in connection of forensic science business. We developed friends in Bexley, Kent (Bruce's) and always included them in our visits. London became June's favorite city. We made our final goodbye visit in 1999 the year following June's Alzheimer's diagnosis!
The Mayor of Torbay Gordon Oliver and Judi Spires (BBC radio Devon host) made the opening comments that started this very special day...
For Norm's video of "Dementia Awareness Day" and the celebrations in Torbay including the balloon releases, click on the below link:
Photo Note: The above photo was taken in Torbay just moments before the actual release of the memorial balloons. Norm is 2nd from the right (purple shirt) in the picture.
The messages released with the balloons read as follows:
(1st Message for 1st Balloon)
“My mother and a grandmother Ellen F. (Nedland) Silbaugh – I am sure you would never have believed it to be possible that a balloon dedicated to you would be released in the United Kingdom to float up to you in your heavenly window in the sky…Our friend Norm, also a victim of this terrible disease, will make the release…Mother, we all miss you so much!...Stan and the Children and Grandchildren.”
(2d Message for 2nd Balloon)
“My beautiful wife June K. (Rolstad) Berg, a mother and grandmother – I am sure you would never have believed it to be possible that a balloon dedicated to you would be released in the United Kingdom to float upward towards your heavenly window in the sky…Our friend Norm, also a victim of this terrible disease, will make the release…June, we all miss you so very much!...Stan and the Children and Grandchildren.
Note: Torbay is a popular tourist destination. The Torbay sandy beaches, mild climate and recreational and leisure attractions have given rise to the nickname of the "English Riviera" on the south coast of England. Norm’s is a member of a rather newly formed “Torbay Dementia Action Alliance.” Their goal is to make Torbay the first “Dementia Friendly” city in the world…that goal appears to have been achieved…
To see Norm's memorial Poem "June" that is dedicated to June K. Berg, click on the below link:
Norm Mac - Torbay, Devon, United Kingdom - (22 September 2012): "Thank YOU so much my wonderful friend...Thank YOU Stan for all you do and for your kindness and friendship, always in your Debt, Norrms and family , the page looks fantatsic "
Pauline Horan - Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom - (22 September 2012): "Brilliant video Norm - loved the messages from Stanton."
Catherine Jones-Hatcher - Richmond, Virginia - (22 September 2012): "I too got chills seeing the dedication to the women in Stan's life... and thought the words from Judi were exceptional!!!! What a huge success your day was! Congrats, Norms!"
Susan E. (Berg) Speicher - Cary, North Carolina - (23 September 2012): "Very very nice. Enjoyed it immensely and brought tears to my eyes. Well put together."