Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Walk for Memories 2012

This post is a bit behind schedule, but better late than never! Alysha spent her first year collecting pledges for the Alzheimer Walk For Memories, and she completed the walk on May 12th.

Alysha, Julie and I were there to walk, and to sell bracelets.
The walk was lovely, and though the day was a grey one, there was lots of colour as the London Police piped us through the first turn.

Here, Alysha is joined by a surprise companion. Natasia is a family friend who managed to walk almost all of the route, even with much shorter legs . Maybe she can be convinced to collect pledges next year!

At the halfway point, we pause and take a breath at the Memory Wall.

Alysha is very stoked up by her completion of the walk, she knows her $520 in pledges will be a big help. Natasia is a bit less impressed.

During the hour long walk, mom held down things at the bracelet table, and we raised another $145 for the Society.

Thanks to all the people at the society who always make us feel welcome, and to all the friends and family who donated. The employees at Ramkey Communications were responsible for pledging almost half of Alysha's total for the walk, which was truly unexpected.

Hope to see you all there next year! (If not before.)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A little bit more famous.

As I mentioned in my last post, Alysha was given the opportunity to appear on London's Rogers Daytime TV program for an interview!

Leslie Mitchell from the Alzheimer Society was nice enough to bring her along, and if you missed it, you can see her first ever television appearance by clicking right here.

We are very proud of Alysha for taking this opportunity to get the word out about Alzheimer's and the Walk for Memories. The walk itself was completed Saturday, May 12, but if her story has interested you, pledges can be made up until May 31st at walkformemories.ca. To pledge for Alysha, you can use this link directly.

If your interested in learning more about Alysha and her family's efforts to raise funds for Alzheimer's care and research, might I suggest my original post.

Totals and Goals

Beads For Memories is about making a real difference for those who have Alzheimer's. Alysha knows that every bracelet made and sold is important. She's still nine years old, and fifty cents is more than loose change to her, it represents real time and effort to earn it. Really, every contribution is appreciated, by all involved.

There is a great motivating factor in setting goals, however, so there are totals to be reached as things progress. Some have already been achieved, and some are still out there on the horizon. Without further ado, let's do this by the numbers!

February of 2011: Alysha starts selling bracelets for 25 cents each. Sales surprise everyone involved, and Alysha sets her goal to raise $200 by the end of the month. On March 1st, she finishes selling, and brings $212.50 to the Alzheimer Society of London and Middlesex.

Spring/Summer 2011: Alysha aims to get her own message on a chair at the Alzheimer Society's conference room. Her target is the $250 dollar donation required to do so.

Our supporters at local businesses help out by having a donation/sales box at their front counter.  Jewellery Werx, Attain Total Health, Krafty Kennedy's, and Advantage Automotive are all participants in this effort.

Alysha and her parents are also given space at the third party fundraiser table at the May 5th Walk for Memories, where many of the society's regular volunteers and contributors get to meet Alysha fro the first time.

The Alzheimer's Society is part of the Doors Open London Event, Alysha is stationed at her own table, and collects $110 in contributions over 2 days!

By the end of the summer, Beads For Memories has raised and additional $250 and the plaque and message go on the chair in October 2011.

February 2012: With a large supply of bracelets, Alysha and her mother attend the Alzheimer's Cabin Fever Reliever dinner and auction. Proceeds from this one night total $230.00

Alysha also sells bracelets at White Oaks School every school recess and lunch. As of March 1st  White Oaks staff and students have donated another $305.00. Since the school reached the $250.00 mark, a message will be added to a chair in the Alzheimer Society's conference room on White Oaks behalf.

March 1st 2012: Individuals and companies who donate over $1000 in a calendar year are recognised by the Alzheimer's Society by having their name placed on the wall at the offices on Windermere Road. Alysha has been seeking this target since back at the beginning of March, 2011. At the time, the goal was over $750 away. We are proud to announce that the sale of bracelets will result in a total for the year of over $1000 dollars!

Alysha celebrated her first year of donations with the staff at the society, give a click to see the cake and the BIG cheque.

The Society ran a day of workshops in April, and we were thankful that Pam and Joan brought Alysha's bracelets to the Navigating the Road Ahead event. These two high-pressure sales ladies brought back $175.00 in bracelet sales from the one day event. We thank them for their time and effort when Alysha could not be there.

On May 12 2012, Alysha participated in the Walk For Memories for the first time. Beads for Memories had a table with our wares, and the sales of handmade bracelets came to $145.60 this year! We hope all of you who bought a bracelet are wearing it with pride.

Alysha also collected pledges for the 5 kilometre walk, and brought in another $520.00 for her efforts. Thanks to friends, family, and the employees of Ramkey Communications for your generosity.

As of May 12, 2012 , the total monies raised by the sales of Beads For Memories is:


The total for all the contributions to the Alzheimer Society as a result of Alysha and her customer's and pledges efforts is now.


Once again, every donation is appreciated, and if you are among those who have seen us around town and helped out, we would like to thank you again.

As always, if you'd like more information on the project you can contact awlovespets@rogers.com. if you would like to read about Alysha's inspiration for the work that she does, you can read my first post.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A Little Bit Famous

Life in the land of Beads for Memories continues to surprise and take unexpected turns. It seems that the daily London paper called Metro was interested in doing a column about the Walk For Memories. Our friends at the Alzheimer Society of London-Middlesex told their reporter about Alysha and what she had been up to over the past year with her bracelets. This resulted in an interview, and a feature in the newspaper. We were all very excited, you can read the story by clicking right here.

We hope you are inspired by Alysha's story as much as we are. She will be doing the walk just ten days from now, and we are still looking for donations to reach her goal of $500.00 for the walk. Alysha's mother, Julie, will also have bracelets for sale before and during the walk on a table near the registration area.

The Alzheimer Society has a very easy online donation system, so you can pledge your support directly with a few clicks of the mouse. If you'd like to know more about how the walk helps Alzheimer's patients and their families, you can got to walkformemories.ca, if you would like to pledge funds for Alysha's walk, you can go to her personal page and donate there.

We appreciate any amount you can give, Alzheimer's is a disease that takes tremendous resources to support sufferers and their families, and we want to help the society ease that burden as much as possible.

As always, if you've come to this site only lately, you can read about the start of Beads for Memories at my first post.

Alysha may be making an appearance on Rogers Television in London next week, so come back to the blog this weekend and I will hopefully have details about the exact time and channel.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Million for Memories Celebration

This week Alysha had a chance to celebrate with the Alzheimer Society at the end of their Million for Memories campaign. The special guest for the evening was London born actor Victor Garber, an accomplished stage actor, guest star in many television series, and perhaps best known for his role as shipbuilder Thomas Andrews in Titanic.

Alysha and Julie, her proud mom
The first surprise of the day came to Alysha and her mom before meeting Victor, though. The Major Donor posters are up at the society for the last year, and Alysha got to have her picture taken with her name on the wall behind her.

Alysha and Victor Garber
Along with appetizers, came the opportunity to meet Mr. Garber. He was full of positive things to say about the efforts to lessen the impact of Alzheimer's, and not only posed with Alysha, but accepted the gift of a Beads for Memories bracelet.

As Beads for Memories continues to make and sell bracelets to raise funds for Alzheimer's care and research, it helps to know that there are people just as willing to donate their time and energy to the cause.

You can see more pictures from this event on the Alzheimer Society Facebook page.

Stylish bracelet for a stylish guy.

To date, over $1500 dollars have been raised by Alysha and her family, and we will continue to take our show 'on the road' wherever the Society will have us. As always, we thank those who have supported us in the past, and hope to meet more of you dedicated to this cause in the future.

To read the whole reason behind Beads for memories, check my original post here.
For our most recent fundraising tally, check our Totals and Goals.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Speech! Speech!

At the annual Alzheimer Society appreciation dinner, Alysha was asked, with other volunteers, if she would like to speak. She took this opportunity to tell the others people who help out around the society just what she does. She also took the time to thank those who have helped her keep Beads for Memories going. If you've ever helped bead or sell bracelets, listen for your name! Its just like an Oscar speech, I swear.

I've got another update on the running total coming up soon. Glad you stopped by, we'll keep you posted on anywhere else Beads for Memories will be, as soon as we know!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Pat On The Back

The first year of Beads For Memories has come to  a close. It has been a more interesting, and much more uplifting year than any of us here had imagined. After reaching her goal of $1000 raised in a year, Alysha felt it was time to celebrate. So what goes better with celebration than cake?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

White Oaks, February 2012

It has been a very busy February for the second year in a row at Alysha's house. She spent the entire month making bracelets at home, and selling them at school. Many thanks to the staff and students at White Oaks who supported by purchasing bracelets and raffle tickets. Thanks too, to the family members and businesses who have supported Beads for Memories over the past year.

After all the donations were totalled up, White Oaks donated a total of:


To the Alzheimer Society of London Middlesex. Because the donation exceeded $250 for the month, there will be a plaque added to one of the chairs in the conference room at the Society's headquarters. The message will let whoever uses the chair know that "White Oaks P.S. Cares".

We look forward to bringing you more news as Beads for Memories continues to raise funds for those suffering from Alzheimer's.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Grand Evening

February 4th, 2012 was the night for the London Middlesex Alzheimer Society's annual Cabin Fever Reliever event. The 'Reliever' is a dinner and auction, and was held at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn. Alysha was invited to bring her bracelets to the event, and sell them throughout the evening.
Alysha and mom, Julie at the sales table.

The bracelets included a selection with semi-precious stones added in, made just for this event. Alysha was lucky enough to be given a prime location at the registration table for the pre-dinner portion of the evening. It was wonderful to have so many new, and familiar faces around for the evening.

Ready for sale!
Alysha entered the evening very close to a major goal. Since her first visit to the Society in March of 2011, close to $900 had been raised through bracelet sales. She had set a goal of $1000 dollars raised in less that one calendar year. Prior to the auction, it was announced that Alysha had less than eighty dollars to go before reaching her target.

We are very pleased to announce that, by the end of the Cabin Fever Reliever, Beads For Memories had surpassed the $1000 mark for the year! The big round of applause from all those at the Cabin Fever Reliever was a huge moment for Alysha, and her mother. The Cabin Fever Reliever crowd donated a total of $230 in this one night alone! Alysha and her family would like to thank everyone who contributed their time to making bracelets, materials to create them, and all those who purchased a bracelet (or a whole bunch) from one of the events Alysha was at over the past year. This evening was a wonderful exclamation point on an incredible year.

Alysha's name will be added to the Major Donors wall for 2011 at the Alzheimer Society offices in June, and she will be the youngest individual ever named on the wall. Alysha couldn't be more thrilled.

Below are a couple of friends who dropped by to pose with Alysha at the event.

Alysha, and Kerry Bruce from the Society

'Aunt' Joan McConnell and Alysha

This is certainly not the end of the road for Beads For Memories, or Alysha and family. We continue to be involved with Alzheimer's fund raising, including the month of February at White Oaks school. As always, if you'd like more information on the project you can contact awlovespets@rogers.com. if you would like to read about Alysha's inspiration for the work that she does, you can read my first post.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Bracelets: Revealed

I was speaking to someone today about Alysha's efforts and her website, and I was asked a very practical question: What do these bracelets look like? Seemed like a fair question, but I didn't have one on me to show the person in question. So, for those who haven't been to an event, here are the kinds of bracelets we've made for the fundraiser.

They are all 6 inches long, and made of either glass, plastic, or wooden beads. The quarters are there for size comparison. Unless someone has specifically requested it, there are no two exactly alike. Beads from several different sources at different times keep the variety coming. We also have 5 semi-regular beaders (bracelet makers?) in the family, who each have their own style. It is quite surprising how many combinations you can come up with without really thinking about it.

The bracelets are all made on embroidery floss, and tie on. Like a friendship bracelet, they are designed to be worn until they fray off on their own. This helps keep our costs and 'manufacturing' time down (and our customers coming back), so we can make the hundreds and hundreds required to keep the project going.

If you are interested in being involved by making a purchase or donating materials, please leave a comment or contact awlovespets@rogers.com for information. More information about Alzheimer's and dementia can be found at alzheimerlondon.ca.

Thanks for your interest.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

White Oaks Fundraiser

After a whole year of fundraising with the Alzheimer's Society around London, Alysha has brought her bracelets back home to White Oaks School.

Starting February 1st, the staff have given permission for her to set up shop in front of the Junior Office.

Bracelets are selling for fifty cents each, and there are plans for raffles of other handmade jewellery in the next three weeks. If the total from the White Oaks students exceeds $250.00, there will be a chair plaque in the Alzheimer's Society's conference room with the message "White Oaks Public School Cares". 

The Vice-Principal was kind enough to pose with Alysha as the very busy month begins.

Alysha and Mrs. S Sartor of White Oaks P.S.
If you want to know the reasons behind Alysha's efforts you can read about it here. If you would like to contact us about ordering bracelets, or helping out in another way, please e-mail us at awlovespets@rogers.com

Monday, 30 January 2012

A Meaningful Message

The Alzheimer Society's headquarters in London has a conference room for meetings and presentations. Our family first toured the facility in March of 2011, and we were guided around by Jackie Ellefsen when Alysha brought her initial donation.

Alysha and Jackie
It was during this visit that Jackie mentioned the plaques that adorn several of the chairs in the room. Alysha discovered that a donation of $250 or more would allow her to place a plaque with a message of her choice on one of the chairs. The idea of having a permanent message really motivated our (then) eight year old daughter, and when we discussed it, she was enthusiastic about making her next goal a two hundred and fifty dollar donation to the Society.

There were no more sales to be had from her schoolmates, so we began to think of other places that might be interested in Alysha's bracelets. Jewellery Werx in Lambeth was kind enough to allow her to take advantage of a discount on their beads, and to have a box on the counter for sales of the bracelets. The Alzheimer Society invited her to their volunteer dinner and their Walk For Memories and encouraged her to sell them there. She set up shop in our front yard on summer weekends and got up early to set up a table at a neighbour's garage sale.

Bracelets we selling for either fifty cents or a dollar now, depending on what kinds of beads were on them, but it still took over three hundred individually hand made bracelets to get close to $250. Again, this was a family affair, as beading needles, and boxes and jars of beads took over the living room.

But before the end of September, Alysha was able to take a second donation down to help those at the Alzheimer's Society, as they helped those with this disease. Alysha took some time to decide what message she would leave as a permanent reminder to anyone who used 'her' chair in the conference room.
If you would like to get involved in Beads for Memories, either by placing an order, or donating supplies, please e-mail Alysha at awlovepets@rogers.com.

If you want to read the inspiration behind all of this activity, it's in this post here.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Alzheimer's, Beads, and Alysha

This website is the result of almost a year of work from Alysha Wisniewski and her family. I am Alysha's father, and I am going to begin by telling her story in my words. Let me assure you that, though my ability to tell the story this way is mine, the story itself, and the inspiration for it, are Alysha's alone.

The first thing that you need to know, is that Alysha and Aunt Roz were very great friends. From the very first day they met, Roz simply gushed about how wonderful and beautiful Alysha was, and hung on every word she said. She would tell Alysha's parents and grandparents what a wonderful child she was, and how great it was to have her around.

Alysha was equally in love with Roz. Their meetings would be highly anticipated, Alysha asking at every holiday and family gathering if Roz would be there. They always sat beside one another at dinner, and cuddled up together while the family talked. Every chance they got, they were and inseparable pair. 

As time went on, Alysha grew up. From five years old, to six, and seven, she and Aunt Roz never wavered in their love for one another. As she grew older, the rest of our family had to explain the sad truth about Roz to Alysha. Her favourite aunt was sick. In fact, Roz had been sick for some time, most of the time that Alysha had known her. Crazy, flamboyant Roz was very slowly slipping away. Alzheimer's disease was taking away Roz's ability to function like a regular person, bit by little bit.

Its a difficult thing to explain to an adult what having Alzheimer's means. It is not an illness that shows its wounds in a way that grown people can cope with. This is doubly so for a child. When Alysha began to learn that Aunt Roz wouldn't remember things the same way anymore, she didn't shy away. Now, if Roz needed help finding her way to and from the bathroom,  Alysha was her escort. If Roz asked the same question three times in ten minutes, Alysha answered with a smile. If Roz let the wrong word slip out of her mouth, her first apology was to Alysha. Both of them were trying to make the best of a bad situation, and neither had the language to explain themselves, only hug and smiles.

Alysha and Roz's Story continues after the break....