Hi, I'm Theona and with my hubby Pete, we want to bring dementia down.
I began 'colouring in' to find some peace with the turmoil and heartache of my mum's advanced Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia.
The designs and colours were HAPPY, within a place that was not. Nursing homes can be sad places, spend enough time in one and you’ll know what I mean. Not an hour, which is nothing. Spend a day, two days, a week or a month and see, feel and experience what it’s really like.
So while mum was having her afternoon sleep, and during the hours keeping her company in her own confused dementia stricken world, I would colour in and share my thoughts with her. I’d chat about the things we did when I was a kid and about her life with dad, who left us way to early more than 20 years ago when mum was only 56. Mum would sometimes respond with a nod or an expression, at times with just a sound as this horrible disease has also taken away her voice and she can no longer speak. Mum is now 81 and this has been a 14 year journey so far.
I feel incredibly sad for her as she does not deserve this. Her old age was taken away from her and she was taken away from me. No more mother and daughter outings together like shopping, coffees, lunches, dinners, movies, theatre, weekend trips and the occasional holiday. I wanted her to experience as much as possible, especially after losing dad, and all that is gone. It’s not fair and it breaks my heart.
I know she approved when we decided to put the designs on T-Shirts, set up an online store, and sell them for fundraising. Hence Dementia Demolition Squad was born – to do all we can to smash it out of human existence.
She is our inspiration and driving force to take action and help find a cure for this devastating disease that slowly tears your life away piece by piece. I think she is happy knowing that we are working hard to fundraise for a cure – but I have to keep reminding her of what we’re doing, and that’s ok.
We decided to collaborate with Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) based in Sydney and have a great working relationship with them, becoming authorised fundraisers for life. We set up an annual Award in honour of my parents to know exactly where our hard earned fundraising dollars were going. This annual Award supports a PhD student working for NeuRA directly in the field of dementia research.
$5.00 from each T-shirt is donated to NeuRA. You get to join the ‘Squad” with your own unique T-Shirt, and you are contributing towards finding a cure, something that is greatly needed as dementia is now the 2nd biggest killer of women in Australia.
With over $18500 raised so far, our goal is to raise $1Million - one T-shirt at a time, one donation at a time, along with community fundraising events that we do like Bunnings BBQs, movie nights and dinners. You can see more of our journey on our EveryDay Hero page and if you want to make more of a difference, the option is there to make a tax deductible donation.
We hope you like our t-shirt designs enough to buy a few.
Theona and Pete