According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 5 million people are currently facing the hardships of Alzheimer’s in the United States. The illness corrodes a victim’s memory, making it incredibly difficult and frustrating to connect and communicate with family and friends.
Maria Shriver, the NBC News special anchor, after witnessing her father struggle with Alzheimer’s until his death in 2011, was inspired to create a coloring book geared specifically to those suffering from the disease. In an interview with TODAY, she stated:
“When I would go visit my dad as his disease progressed, I had fewer and fewer things that I could do with him. I could take a walk with him, but a lot of times he didn’t’ want to walk. I played puzzles with him and sometimes drew on pieces of paper.”
The goal of such a coloring book is to help calm patients and caregivers together, thus facilitating better connections between family and friends. Images in the book are inspired from Shriver’s visits to nursing homes. The product also includes tips for caregivers within its pages that are based on conversations with doctors and families.
Dr. Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzhiemer’s Prevention Clinic, explained that “the person with Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate his or her thoughts as well as they used to or may not remember what happened to the conversation 10 minutes ago, but they’re able to express themselves through art – through drawing.” The emergence of this coloring book could help to fulfill this unmet need for better communication.
Shriver noted that Alzheimer’s is an intense, frightening experience, and she ensured the coloring book focused on happy, hopeful, themes through numerous colors and images of butterflies and happy people.
“I’m really hopeful this is filling a void and a need and will change people’s lives,” she stated. Shriver also considered how the book might have changed her relationship with her father near the end of his life. “I think it would have brought laughter, it would have enabled us to do something together.”
The coloring book was released in June, which is considered Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.
Monday morning, dozens of kindergarten students at Rosa Parks Elementary were lovingly gifted their first ever bicycle, just in time for the warm weather. As soon as the students entered the classroom, their tired faces transformed to exude their excitement.
David Yandell, Portland native, recognizes the importance of helping one’s own community in any way possible. He has long been raising money for the Portland community, raising over a hundred thousand dollars in the past twenty years. One of his self-given jobs is to organize bike donations every year, this year inspiring James Meyer, local architect, to donate and distribute.
Meyer recognized the gift of a bike to be a gift of joy to a child who may not get the same chance without such a donation. “There’s something about it, it’s an equalizer, [a bike] puts you into a group, an opportunity to putz around at the park, ride around with others, and make friends…There’s something about a new bike that has a certain simplicity.”
He saw that this simplicity grows community and creates friendship through unifying activities. Bicycles help cultivate active out-of-door summers, which many parents wish their children could have. Meyer further emphasized the joy which he gained through the donation and the importance of seeking out opportunities to impact other’s lives. He encouraged any capable parties to do likewise.
This gift of bikes has the great potential of leading to a summer of joy in community.
Katu news recently honored Edwin Young of Portland in its “everyday heroes” feature. Edwin has demonstrated remarkable devotion to his wife, Jovan, while she has struggled to recover from a mysterious illness which confined her to the hospital for several months.
Doctors have been unable to provide Jovan with a specific diagnosis, and although she has been released from the hospital, she can’t walk, and requires extra care from her husband. “Edwin cooks my food,” Jovan told Katu. “He helps me change my bed if I need to change my bed; he washes all of my laundry; he does the dishes.”
Edwin Young has fulfilled his new responsibilities with remarkable grace and dedication. “Without even irritation, this man takes care of me,” Jovan marveled. She calls Edwin a superhero, but he feels that he has simply done his duty to his wife and children: “I’ve got to [take care of her]” he explained. “I have to. We’ve got daughters and they’re there [at home] too, but they’ve got lives. . . . And we don’t want to take their lives from them.”
The Young family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover Jovan’s medical expenses. To support Edwin in his effort to care for his wife, click here.
Last month, KATU news honored 91-year-old Jean Pierce in its “Everyday Heroes” feature for her longtime service to Portland. Pierce has volunteered for Store to Door, a nonprofit which delivers groceries to seniors and individuals with disabilities, for over three decades.
Pierce believes her biweekly shopping trips for Store to Door have enabled her to remain mobile into her ninth decade. “I credit the fact that I’m still moving around on doing this,” she explained.
Store to Door’s 400 volunteers strive to foster relationships with the customers they serve. According to Executive Director Kiersten Ware, these relationships help the organization meet clients’ needs: “We know our clients . . . so they’re more likely to tell us if they have an additional need,” Ware said.
Ware believes Pierce embodies Store to Door’s commitment to the home-bound. “If you were to ask me if there was a hero, someone I would want to follow in their footsteps, I would say it’s Jean [Pierce],” she said.
Store to Door volunteers will continue to have a role model in Pierce–despite her age, she intends to continue serving her community as long she can. “It makes me feel good to be doing something for somebody else,” she told KATU. “That’s it.”
Oregon police officers rescued two ducklings from a Salem storm drain, where they were trapped for several days. “Fish and Wildlife Division Senior Trooper Hunter (Salem Area Command) and Recruit Denny (OSU Patrol Office) were dispatched to a call of several baby ducklings trapped in a storm drain at the corner of Airport Road and Mission Street in Salem, Oregon,” the Oregon State Police Facebook page stated.
According to witnesses, a mother duck attempted to cross a street with her ten ducklings, when two of them fell through a grate and disappeared into the drain.
City workers contributed to the rescue operation, and removed storm grates and a manhole cover so the officers could lift the ducklings to safety in a net. The ducklings rejoined their mother and eight siblings in a nearby canal.
OSP’s Facebook page noted that individuals from several government departments–including Salem’s Public Works Department and ODOT–cooperated with the officers to assist the ducks. The page described the incident with the hashtag, “#Teamwork.”
When Kelso, Washington students heard that their teacher needed a new wheelchair, they decided to act. The students organized a GoFundMe campaign to purchase a new electric wheelchair for substitute instructor John Jankins. An overwhelming response from donors enabled them to collect over $32,000 in less than one week.
Jankins, who is affected by cerebral palsy, rides his motorized wheelchair to and from Kelso High School, where he has worked for almost thirty years. Jankins’ students couldn’t imagine Kelso High without him: “Rain or shine Mr. Janke has been a part of Kelso classrooms for years. His presence has touched the lives of countless students/staff and now it’s time to show our appreciation,” the students’ GoFundMe page read.
The students initially aimed to raise $25,000, but an outpouring of support for Jankins prompted the students to increase their fundraising goal to $30,000. Extra funds will cover the cost of future wheelchair repairs.