Ardyce and Norm

Pictured are Ardyce and Norm Peterson. Ardyce was selected as the Honorary Chairperson for the virtual Columbia/Marquette County Alzheimers Walk after Norm died from the disease in April.

The 14th Annual Columbia/Marquette Counties Alzheimer’s Walk will be virtual this year and it is honored to have Ardyce Peterson as their Honorary Chairperson. Her husband died from the disease earlier this year.

“Norm and I were married for 67 years,” Ardyce said. “During these years, I was able to work alongside Norm in ministry. He was always a strong leader.”

In 2011, Norm was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“A word we never wanted to hear,” Ardyce said.

Her husband never fully understood that he had the disease.

In January of 2014, Ardyce and Norm were invited to attend a Memory Café in their hometown of Portage. Together, the couple enjoyed going to the Memory Café meetings.

“He loved to laugh and it was such good therapy for him. I met other caregivers and they truly understood where I was coming from and they became my friends,” Ardyce said. “The Alzheimer’s journey can be long and quite lonely when you can no longer have shared memories. However, I am so thankful for the knowledge I’ve received through our participation in the Memory Café and the ADAW Support Group. It is the most valuable resource, and I’m so grateful I didn’t have to walk the journey without the understanding and support I received. I strongly recommended the program to friends who are just starting their journey of memory loss. I feel honored to have been selected as the Chairperson for this year.”

Norm passed away from Alzheimer’s disease this past April. Ardyce is grateful to the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin (ADAW) for connecting her with others in the community on the same Alzheimer’s and dementia journey and finding a sense of belonging, acceptance, respect and sharing of knowledge of this disease.

During this pandemic, the need for ADAW services has noticeably increased. Homebound caregivers are one of the biggest recipients of services from the ADAW. Close to 2,000 residents of Columbia and Marquette counties have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Registration is now open for the 2020 Columbia/Marquette County Alzheimer’s Walk. To sign up visit www.alzwisc.org/alzheimers-walks. Walkers can also register and drop off donations on Sept. 10 from 4-6:30 p.m. at Riverside Park in Portage or on Sept. 13 from noon-2 p.m. at Rendezvous Paddle & Sports in Montello. Funds raised for the Columbia/Marquette Counties Alzheimer’s Walk stay local to provide free programs, education, services and resources from the ADAW in Columbia and Marquette counties.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, log on to www.alzwisc.org/alzheimers-walks/ to watch special presentation videos and hear the live announcements of the fundraising Top Teams from Jennifer Bauer, Executive Director of ADAW.

If you or someone you know has questions about Alzheimer’s, contact the ADAW at 608-232-3400 or at support@alzwisc.org.

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