June's Alzheimer's Awareness Card Program
- Published on Thursday, 17 March 2011 05:51
- Written by Stanton O. Berg
June’s Alzheimer's Awareness card program has been a work in progress – I have distributed 9,800 cards since the program was started in February 2006. The program is now in it's 8th year and 12th Card Edition or variation. (April 2012.) The card pictures June and my mother Ellen who were both victims of Alzheimer's. June's Alzheimer's awareness cards contents are frequently updated and revised in order to maintain the card as a current and timely device for providing information. The card references and refers the reader to June's website for complete information. (Home page of June's website is shown above.)
The back of the card has statistics and data that outlines the scope of the present Alzheimer's health problem and the need for additional funding.
Cards are given out at every opportunity. I also enclose a card with every monthly bill that I pay during the month. I frequently will pass out cards to waitresses and when appropriate to the nearby tables when dining out. I carry cards in my shirt pocket and will present them to anyone that I meet and talk with.
I have a regular Thursday afternoon routine at Rosedale Mall in Roseville, MN. I will usually seat myself in a corner seat (if available) in the Caribou Coffee Area and when the opportunity presents itself, distribute cards to both individuals and to the various groups seated at the tables.
I also have (8) eight card holders in place on/at the front desks near the cashier's position at seven restaurants - "Applebee's", and "Perkins" in Fridley, MN, Baker's Square in Blaine, MN, Champps in New "Brighton, MN, Green Mill in Roseville, MN, Keys Cafe in Spring Lake Park, MN and "Maxine's" in Rice Lake, WI. (Rice Lake is my home town!) In addition there is a card holder/dispensor at the "Eye Care Center" in Fridley, MN.
The cards are placed in a prominent location for the convenience of the patrons or customers if they desire to take a card. The card holders of walnut or leather are desinged with the word "Alzheimer's" appearing in bold print on the front of the holder.
The card holders used for dispensing the "June Alzheimer's Awareness" cards (walnut wood or leather holders have dimensions of approx. 4"x2"x1". Photo of one of the leather card holders is shown below.
(Photo by Bill Peterson.)
* Note: The business locations that I placed June's card holders are business places that I patronize and that are friendly to doing something about Alzheimer's. While the cards distributed by this means are slow and low volume, it is a steady distribution.
I usually engage in a short oral discussion when I personally present the card and welcome any further discussion of Alzheimer's, the need for funding, research and the proper care practices. I encourage a visit to June's web site for additional information and reference the 250 articles and essays to be found on June's web site. When there is a large group, in order to get their attention, a technique I have found useful is to announce that I am looking for an "Angel". This usually gets everyone's attention and it adds a light moment to the introduction of a sad and serious subject. Maybe some day I will find that "Angel." So far in my lifetime, the closest I have come to an Angel is June, who has most of the qualities of an Angel.
I have only been rebuffed on two occasions when I have attempted to present one of June's Alzheimer's awareness cards to a potential recipient. I usually ask the person if they utilize the internet. This approach usually results in a guarded answer with a somewhat of a suspicious look! "What is this guy trying to sell me?" However the moment I mention that I am promoting "Alzheimer's awareness" and that both my mother and my wife died from this disease, the attitude immediately changes, and the conversation is cordial and receptive. Being 84 years of age is also helpful as I do not appear very threatening!
I realize that my efforts are overall, a small volume operation in getting the word out and the cards distributed. It is my effort to personalize the disease and put a face on it. I hope that people will remember the card as distributed by this old man who lost a wife and a mother to the disease. This old guy who was looking for an "Angel". I keep thinking that maybe someday I will touch the right person and big things will happen...I might even find the Angel I am looking for to make a difference!...Maybe at that point God will say to this disease something along the line of that old saying "and thats all she wrote." I am 84 years of age with health problems. I hope that I will be around to see the day that this terrible disease is conquered. But I also realize the God may determine that for me personally, "thats all he wrote!"
(Front and back of the 11th edition card - 2011.)
Feedback from June’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Cards
Most of the people that I present with one of June’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Cards are people that I never again see or hear from! In those cases, I never really know what if any impact June’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Cards are having.
On occasion I will receive an email note or website feedback that provides some insight into the effect of June’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Cards. Below I have reproduced three email responses received during one of the early years (2007) that provide such information. I have also reproduced some of the more recent responses received in the past few months. In all cases the response has been very positive. Such feed back is most encouraging and does tell me that June is making a difference by way of her “Awareness Cards.” A number of responses reference the writer’s faith and God’s influence in their life. Many are a clear reflection of God’s love.
The feedback is reproduced below by way of a copy of the actual email message received. In some cases where it seemed appropriate, only the writer's initials are used in order to protect the sender's identity and privacy.
Message dated 1/19/2007 (Email)
"Hi Stan, this is Kristi Pederson.
I am a server at Champps in New Brighton. I waited on you and your son a few weeks ago on a Saturday morning. You gave me your card about your wife. I went to the website and was so touched. I will be praying for June, you, and your family. Keep trusting in the Lord because He does work all things for good to those who love Him and are faithful. I feel that in you and it is very encouraging to me. What a greeat life you have had together! She sounds like a great lady and I am very thankful to know her story.
See you at Champps, Kristi" (One of June's Alzheimer's Card Recipients.)
Message dated 2/8/2007 (Email)
"Hi. I read your wonderful tribute to your wife on your homepage, and I had to email you. I'm sorry to be bothering you, but I felt the need to tell you how it touched me. It made me cry. I cried for the sadness you have, and I cried for all the happiness that you and your wife shared. What a beautiful story of your love and devotion to each other. It should serve as an inspiration to everyone to embrace what we have and cherish each day of our lives.
I remember June from years ago when I used to cashier (When we were Erickson's), and I remember her as always being such a sweet, gentle, kind and classy lady...She is so darn cute!! But you already know that.
How lucky you both are to have found each oher, and to have shared such a full and exciting life together. The perfect couple, the perfect love. Your life together sounds like a true love story. Where as you extoll her virtues, you also shold be....My heart goes out to you, June and your family. I know God is crying with all of you, and is holding out his arms to surround you and help you. I realize there is nothing I, or anyone else, can say or do to make things better, or take away the hurt - but sometimes its nice just to know that other people really do care. I care. take care of youself, too.
Jeannine aka: "The splenda lady" (One of June's Alzheimer's Card recipients.)
Message dated 7/22/2007 (Email) :
"My wife's aunt Lydia and I always shared a very special relationship. She treated me more like a son than she did an in-law. Like my mother-in-law, Lydia developed Alzheimer's in her nineties, and was put into a nursing home for care. As she got worse and worse, she quit talking to us. Quit paying attention to anything. Not caring about anything. We didn't get a single word out of her for several months before her death.
But, just moments before she died, with my wife and I by her bed, she somehow became, seemingly, completely lucid. And at the moment before her death, she took my hand in hers, held it very tightly looked me in the eyes, smiled, and said, "I love you." And then she was gone.
This cruel, cruel moment became, perhaps, the lovliest of my entire life. Thanks for letting me share this story with you."
Bill Ficker - Champps - (One of June's Alzheimer's Card recipients.)
Message Dated 11/9/2009 (Email):
"Thanks so much for providing the lovely concert today at the Benedictine Health Center. My mother D...... C....., a resident there, and I enjoyed it. Until recently, she was a regular at Culver's where she enjoyed many such musical shows. What a lovely tribute to your wife, June.
I picked up the card about June and Ellen last week and checked out the website. What a powerful effort and message. Thanks so much for your inspired work on behalf of Alzheimer's victims.
Shirley Jackson" (One of June's Alzheimer's Card recipients.)
Message dated 2/3/2010 (Email):
"Hello Stan, Love your card and your passion for awareness on the disease of Alzheimer's! I didn't realize you lost both women in a year's time to Alzheimer's. I knew of your sweet wife June, of course. I always loved her smile and sweet Spirit. And I am also sorry to hear you lost your mother to this as well.
You are a champion fighting the fight! I often see your articles and hear of your work. Good for you! So far, yours is the only voice I've seen! ...Have a great day and many blessings to you!
Wanda Hart" (One of June's Alzheimer's Card recipients.)
Message dated 8/16/2010 (Email):
"Dear Mr. Berg, My name is R….. F... I'm not sure if you remember me but I helped you check out at JC Penney's a while back. I just wanted to let you know that in just that little time we had you really affected me. I couldn't find the words that day, but I think all the charity donations and awareness you create (especially for Alzheimer's) is so commendable. I hope one day to be able to do the same.
Ever since that day I have been wanting to help your cause in some way. And I wanted to let you know that I am now planning to start a team for the Twin Cities Memory Walk and I applied to become a volunteer for the Alzheimer's Association. So again I just wanted to thank you so much. You are truly …….
Thanks again for helping me find such a wonderful cause to fight for. Sincerely,
Editorial Note: Follow up emails reveal that this young lady did in fact organize a team of 10 volunteers and they did raise funds for Alzheimer’s through the “Memory Walk”.
Message dated 3/5/2011:
Thank you for the sweet experience of reading your wife's story and celebrating her legacy. You handed me a card on Thursday at Caribou - my prayers go with you as you continue to raise awareness and hope for others!
God bless you!” "J… S…….
Message dated 3/30/2011 (June's Guestbook) :
"Mr. Berg - You approached my mom, sister & me while we were having coffee at the mall recently. Your gentleness & sincerity in simply asking us to visit your site was enough to make me want to check it out when I returned home to Oklahoma. What an amazing tribute you have made for June. She must have been quite an amazing person for you to dedicate so much to her. I just know there's a brighter star in heaven because of you. Be assured I will pass along your site to my friends.
Jacki Barton, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma"
Message dated 4/28/2011 (June's Guestbook):
The difference in the last visits were pronounced...only when a close friend or loved one falls away as he has can one appreciate what a terrible thing this Disease is.
The cards you left at the Bakers square in Blaine touched my heart, keep up what you are doing and if there is any way I can help please contact me."
M...... R...... Blaine, MN"
Ashlee O....... Hugo, MN
Message dated 2/2/2012 (Email through June's website.)
"You passed me your card this afternoon at Rosedale Center when I was having coffee and asked me to check out your website, so I did after I come home. I am so moved by what you do for this great cause and for your wife. Your website brings me to tears. I can't imagine how much courage you need to put together this website with all the incredible information. And all the articles you wrote about your wife are so touching. I am 23 years old and I come from China (so please excuse my English). I am still young and I can't really imagine the feeling of losing the love of your life, but reading about you and June make me feel so thankful for everything I own now. I really want to thank you for what you are doing! I wish there are some ways I can help you. This is a great cause you are doing and I hope more people can support it! I just want to write to let you know that I am really really moved and I wish you all the best!"
Chaojie M...Shanghai, China
Note: June's funeral notice as published in the Minneapolis Star in October 2008 can be seen on this website under the "In Memoriam" label - Click on: