My name is Norrms Mc Namara and at the age of just 50 (I am now aged 60) I was diagnosed with dementia (Alzheimer’s). Four years later I was told I had been misdiagnosed and I actually had Lewy Body type dementia because of my hallucinations and night terrors. Ten years ago in the UK there was such a lack of support for people my age, so the shock of the diagnosis and lack of help, sent me into a downward spiral. However, because of the love and support of my family and friends, together we have built something that will now be there forever for all to see and benefit from.
After attending many conferences, talking and yes – sometimes shouting about how we need more understanding about this awful disease, I realised there were a lot of people talking a good game but not actually doing anything or being proactive. The first thing I concentrated on was the inclusive involvement of those of us with dementia. I demanded that we were listened to; I explained to so many people at the conferences, that it wasn’t only me who would be willing to stand up and talk about this. Soon, I started to be contacted by others from around the world who also have dementia. I realised that we could change the way people think, and for very little money, because there is without a doubt a lot of people making a lot of money from people’s misery regarding dementia.
So four years ago I founded The Purple Angel dementia awareness campaign. The logo was drawn by hand by my co-founder Jane Moore whose mother also had dementia. We then needed to work on the practicalities of exactly how we would function, so we appointed the first 50 ‘Purple Angel dementia ambassador’s’. We made a pledge that we would be volunteers and receive no money for what we do.
That was four years ago – what has happened since then??
As I write this I am proud to tell you we are recognised in 55 countries around the world and have over 800 Global Purple Angel dementia ambassadors. These countries include the USA, Australia, Canada, India, Germany, Pakistan and so many more – even CHINA!!
We helped open the very first memory cafe in the USA in Wisconsin. There are now over 200 in existence, we have Purple Angel cafes and associated cafes and social clubs globally. There are Purple Angel cities in the USA and Hospital`s around the world fly the flag for Purple Angel. Thousands if not millions of businesses globally display the Purple Angel logo to show customers their staff are dementia aware (please ask for details) This year we will be holding our THIRD annual The World Rocks Against Dementia event with over 14 countries involved and millions of others raising awareness in or about the same day; March 24th 2018 . There is so, so much more happening dear friends, and ALL FOR FREE.
I believe the greatest gift you can ever give is by helping someone you may never meet.
If I can do this and LIVE with MY dementia, just imagine what we could do if we all came together and did the same.
Norrms Mc Namara