From Small Things Come Great Rewards

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From Small Things Come Great Rewards

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I am sitting here humbled. I was asked to contribute an article on dementia caregiving to MediaPlanet, that publishes inserts in USA Today. I did it and sent it off; I am all about educating care partners on how to survive dementia caregiving.

This morning, I get 5 boxes of the insert, which will be in USA Today on Friday, June 15, in major markets. I am one care partner. One person who has used my voice to try to help others on this journey. I have never solicited for notoriety, nor felt like an expert on anything, except keeping my own head above water on a caregiving journey through dementia.

Somehow, the delivery of these 5 boxes has forever changed me. Do I really inspire people? Can I make even a little difference in someone's life who is living with dementia? Why me? Why now?

When my husband was diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) dementia, I went on a mission. My mission was to learn everything I could about this disease that robs people of their very personality at a young age. I found a lot of technical, scientific explanations. What I did not find was that "personal" touch of how I was going to live through this great loss.

I came to Denise, here at caregiving.com and asked if I could have a special chat for those caregivers of FTD, because we have some unique situations. She said yes! Then I came back with an expert, Dr. Geri Hall, to do a monthly podcast, Talking FTD with Geri, hosted here on caregiving.com.

From this came numerous opportunities to share what being a care partner to someone with dementia means and how to survive. I was able to speak at the NIH Summit on Dementia Care and Services, what an honor! I spoke in a webinar for Medicare on being a care partner for FTD. I spoke on a panel at the AFTD conference about advocacy. I spoke at the National Caregiving Conference and received the Advocacy Award. This is not about telling you my accomplishments, but telling you that ALL caregivers have a voice. Even one little (OK, not so little, I DO love pizza), caregiver CAN make a difference.

To date, my most glorious accomplishment has been producing the FTD Calendar, Celebrating Life with Family, Friends, and Fun, showing those living with FTD truly LIVING, not waiting to die. You can order your 2019 FTD calendar at FTDARN.org/online-store to help this organization directly help those living with FTD. This project is my heart.

Today, these boxes have spoken to me. They are saying, you found YOU, among this grief. I hope I can help others find their own voice, too.

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Denise

This is sooooo awesome, Sharon!! Kudos and congrats and thanks so much for sharing your story which helps others feel less alone.

jan

Congratulations on this deserving recognition of your dedication and resolve to educate on FTD. I'm so excited for you! You have touched so many people on this website. Now a new opportunity to help others! Thank you.