Women create quilt to raise Alzheimer’s awareness


( l to r) Jim Wessler, Nina Behm, Peg Harbert, Lina Dickey and Alan Holbrook


Watertown – When Bernadette Holbrook was just 57 years old, she was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s; one of a rare 5 percent of people with Alzheimer’s who are diagnosed before their 65th birthday. Her husband, Alan, became a devoted caregiver and a passionate advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2013, after living with the disease for eight years, Bernadette passed away on May 27 at the age of 65.

To honor the memory of Bernadette, Shrewsbury residents Nina Behm and Peg Harbert and North Grafton resident Lina Dickey created a quilt to be displayed at various Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/ New Hampshire Chapter events.

“The three women who made the quilt are absolutely an awesome, inspiring story about the power of caring,” said Holbrook. “Not one of the three knew my wife.  Not one of the three knew me.  Not one of the three had any connection with Alzheimer’s disease, but they wanted to help.”

The quilt was proudly displayed at the chapter headquarters in Watertown and also traveled to five of their Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in Plymouth, Andover, Boston and Worcester, as well as Manchester, N.H.

“I was just absolutely floored when I first saw it,” said Holbrook. “It was so colorful and so well done with the Association logo stitched throughout the background.  I don’t think there could have been a better tribute to my late wife’s memory and a better way to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s.”

The Alzheimer’s Association, with headquarters in Watertown, has regional offices in Springfield, Raynham, and Worcester as well as Bedford, N.H. The Alzheimer Association provides services and programs for those with Alzheimer’s, family and professional caregivers in the form of support groups, a 24/7 Helpline, care consultation, advocacy efforts, research funding and education programs. For more information about Alzheimer programs, visit www.alz.org/MANH or call 800-272- 3900.