“There’s not going to be a building named after Margery Wilde. There’s not going to be a Margery Wilde Road. My mother was an average woman and this is a way for her to help other families and leave a little legacy,” said Nancy Wilde.
Her mother, Margery Wilde, is the honouree for Jan. 30’s Investors Group Walk for Memories which raises funds for Alzheimer’s disease information, education, support and research.
The walks in each community around the province are in honour of someone who suffers from or has died of Alzheimer’s disease.
Nancy Wilde remembers her mother as a stay-at-home mom who was always there for her three children and a positive person. Margery was born in Trail and grew up there enjoying skiing Red Mountain before there were chairlifts, hiking on Kokanee Glacier and sewing.
She married Walter Wilde, who was from a Vernon family — his father A.C. Wilde, served as mayor and alderman of Vernon in the 1930s and the Butters side of the family homesteaded in the area in the 1890s.
“Mom taught me so much about sewing and knitting, things I enjoy to this day. She was always very supportive of us and would say, ‘You can do anything.’” said Nancy.
Margery was widowed at 48 and continued teaching and volunteering at the library at VSS.
When Margery started to show signs that she might have Alzheimer’s disease, Nancy knew only too well what was ahead. The family had been through it with her grandmother, Gladys Millican, and paternal aunts Beryl Wilde and Marion Wilde.
“The biggest thing for me was seeing her day timer. She’d keep writing things down and crossing them out and writing them down again. She had post it notes all over with things like ‘water the plants’ and ‘pay the bills.’ It was getting more and more difficult for her to cope. She was in her late 60s then,” said Nancy.
“She’d leave her cigarette burning on the edge of the sink and she had always been very careful with cigarettes. She loved to do crossword puzzles and she stopped because it was getting too hard for her. She never admitted that she thought something was going on.”
The family, Nancy has a brother, Tom, and sister, Jane, tried care in a private home and having Margery live with Nancy with nursing care, and finally had to make the decision to have her move to long term care at Noric House.
“The care there was incredible. They were so good to her. They took such good care of her daily needs and I could be the happy person who came to be with her,” she said.
Even though Nancy knew her mother was being well cared for, there were heart-breaking moments like when Margery would ask to go home.
“How sad it is when you know your mother doesn’t recognize you. In our family, we would always say, ‘Goodbye, I love you,’ and even when she could hardly speak, she would say, ‘I love you, too, dear.’”
Nancy has had four relatives who had Alzheimer’s disease affecting generations of the family, not just herself and her siblings but cousins, their families, children and grandchildren for a total of more than 50 people. Margery died in 2009.
“I’m passionate about finding a cure for this devastating disease. It is only going to get worse,” said Nancy.
“We got a lot of support and encouragement from the Alzheimer Society, I could always count on Phyllis (Dyck) and I always supported them with signs and banners for fundraising,” said Nancy.
She has raised $26,500 through three different events for the Walk for Memories.
“People are starting to realize that this is serious. We have an aging population and there’s no option with Alzheimers. It can happen to anyone and it’s going to hit our society really hard. There are already 70,000 people in B.C. who have Alzheimers or dementia and that could double in 30 years. The cost for care will be staggering. As far as I know, there is no cure, although there are some drugs that can help,” said Nancy.
“I hope people will come out to the walk. The doctors have given up their Sunday morning ice time so that people can skate. There has been so much support and I and all the families who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease truly appreciate it.”
The Investors Group Walk for Memories takes place Jan. 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (registration at 8:30 a.m.) To register or to donate, see www.walkformemories.com or call event chairperson Janice Mori at 250-545-6221.