Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bloggers Make a Difference

I have to admit, I never really paid much attention to blogs until I started thinking about writing one a year ago. Since that time I have found many wonderful resources on all different topics from bloggers all over the world. Since starting my blog, I have come in contact with many different people and it seems like I keep coming across others who are doing things to help in the cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Sometimes I find these people in unexpected places.

Those of you who know me know I have a thing for makeup, particularly bold colored eyeshadow. On a beauty blog which reviews such makeup (, I clicked on a link to the jewelry Phyrra was wearing. Looking through the Etsy shop, I found “Wear the Lilac for Alzheimer's” jewelry.

I think it is amazing the ways people use their gifts and talents to help with a cause they feel called to support. I contacted Kelly of Whimsy Beading to find out how she thought of this fundraiser and why she is doing it. I discovered she was inspired by an author, Terry Pratchett, who announced he had early onset Alzheimer’s.

Wear the Lilac Necklace, photo from Whimsy Beading
Here is Kelly’s story of why she makes her beautiful lilac jewelry of which she donates the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Research Trust in the UK:

“The Wear the Lilac for Alzheimer's fundraiser started in 2008, not long after Sir Terry Pratchett's announcement in March of that year that he had donated 1 million USD to the Alzheimer's Research Trust UK.

Before then, like many of Pratchett’s fans, I "wore the lilac" on May 25th as a reference to the events in the novel Night Watch. Lilacs are not common in my part of the US on May 25th, it's too hot for them to bloom. So, I started making lilac pins out of silk lilac blooms for myself and other local fans and giving them away.

After hearing of Sir Terry's donation, I wanted to do more than that. So I approached some of my online fan communities and asked if they would be interested in purchasing a lilac pin if they knew the entire proceeds of the sale would be donated to Alzheimer's research both in the US and in the UK. The fandom's reaction was very positive and so I set up the Wear the Lilac for Alzheimer's page on my paid photo hosting site.

In the first year, Wear the Lilac for Alzheimer's donated over $1,000 to the Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Research Trust UK. The next year, another $350.00 was raised. This year on May 25th 2010, $770.00 was donated and we will make a donation each May 25th thereafter.

I don't lay claim to being the first person to "wear the lilac." That honor is Sir Terry's alone. I also don't lay claim to being the only person to associate the two events - wearing a lilac blossom/clothing and showing support for Alzheimer's research. But I do lay claim to starting the Wear the Lilac for Alzheimer's fundraiser and being at the start of the "grassroots fan campaign" that hopefully has helped those suffering from Alzheimer's and their loved ones.

On a personal note, Alzheimer's has touched my life as well. At the first of this month, I lost my beloved "adopted" grandmother, a woman who has been a large part of my life to a combination of mid-stage Alzheimer's and stomach cancer. So, the work that Wear the Lilac does is in honor of not just Sir Terry (who I could never honor enough if I tried) but her.

In 2009, we made a one-off necklace to raise more funds. In 2010, I started selling the current line of "Wear the Lilac" jewelry as well as the lilac pins. I also started donating part of the proceeds from other Discworld inspired jewelry from our shop to the Wear the Lilac fundraiser.

So far, $2,200 has been raised by the Wear the Lilac charity items. Considering that it's done with a maximum of two people involved, that's pretty good. Not anywhere near a million USD, but we do what we can.”

Trevor Project Necklace, photo from Whimsy Beading
I also want to mention that she has items to support The Trevor Project which works to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources such as a suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth.

I will be supporting Kelly's efforts in donating to these two causes which are so important to me. 

I am seeing how the blogging community can make a difference, especially if we work together to support each other’s efforts.

If any of you know others who have fundraising or other projects going on for Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or Parkinson's disease, please let me know!


Rev. Katie


  1. Dear Rev. Katie,

    I am the very happy and proud owner of one of Kelly's Wear the Lilac necklaces! She does a great job raising funds for Alzheimer's research and promoting Alzheimer's awareness.

    I was inspired by what she was doing with her jewellery, so I thought I'd like to do something to help raise funds too. I am not a crafty sort of person, but I am a keen cyclist, so I decided I would ride up Mont Ventoux for Alzheimer's research, both in honour of Sir Terry, and in memory of my Grandfather, David Sommerville, who passed away in 2003 after more than ten years with Alzheimer's disease. I plan to do that on 25 May 2011. If you'd like to know more about it, my blog is at

    If you wouldn't mind, I'd also like to spread the news about your blog.

    All the best to you and your family,

    Lilac to Ventoux

  2. Hi Camilla,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. My Dad and husband are both cyclists, I ride with them as well sometimes. My Dad rode in the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Ride here in the US. I mentioned it in some of my previous posts.

    Your ride is a great idea and I look forward to supporting you and reading about your training.

    We can spread the news about each other's blogs and raise more awareness and funds for Alzheimer's at the same time. :-)

    I am sorry to hear about your grandfather. It sounds like he had similar struggles as my Mom, with the Alzheimer's and Parkinson's combined. Did you know cycling is a treatment to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's? We have a tandem bike on a trainer set up for my Mom to ride inside with one of us for treatment.

    Thanks for what you are doing and I will spread the word!


    Rev. Katie

  3. Dementia, via Parkinson's, is a worry in our household. Not yet a preoccupation, yet. Thank God. Someone I read recently mentioned the loneliness that is occasioned by the growing absence of shared memories. If it comes, it will be hard.

  4. Hi Doc,
    I hope dementia does not enter your household. I am hoping though that we can all support each other with whatever comes our way. The loss of memories is hard. Even before my Mom got this disease, I had made scrapbooks and other artwork for people with dementia to help them remember family members. There are many different ways to try and keep memories alive for as long as possible.

    Blessings to you and your family,

    Rev. Katie

  5. While little can be done to improve dementia in those who suffer, family members who find emotional distress in the hardship of Alzheimer Disease can call for therapy to find better methods of coping.