Joe Neill was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in March of 2010. After a long and courageous battle with this disease, Joe passed away on June 14, 2015. Though we were sad for him to leave his earthly home, we now know he is renewed, rejoicing in Heaven with his Father.
This walk was started because of Joe Neill. It came from a frustration of the lack of knowledge about Lewy Body Dementia. I, along with Joe's loved ones, hated seeing him suffer from reactions to medications that were not meant for Lewy Body patients. Being uneducated about Lewy Body Dementia can cause so much pain and turmoil for patients suffering with this terrible disease.
Though the first years walk was definitely a learning experience and planned rather quickly, it was still a great success. Joe was adamant about the walk not being about him. He wanted to make sure we were focusing on getting the awareness out for everyone and he, being such a self-less man, knew that so many were suffering from the same things as him.
I agreed not to do the walk specifically for him, but I did find a way to honor him in a special way by placing his initials JN in the dot of the I in dementia; it was kind of my way to sneak in a small part of him. Funny enough, when he found out about it, he smiled and said "I knew you wouldn't listen."
This year, I can proudly say that this will be the 5th Annual Lewy Body Dementia Walk for Awareness in Memory of Joe Neill
(Oct. 3, 1940 - June 14, 2015)
Notice though that we aren't only honoring Joe with this scholarship. Mattie, his wonderful wife of 56 years will be named as well. Having a disease like Lewy Body Dementia, you learn that the spouse/caregiver is going through this battle as well. Mattie has always been such a caring, devoted wife who did everything in her power to make sure Joe had a fantastic quality of life. She was constantly finding ways to make it possible for Joe to be as independent as he could for as long as possible. She wrote letters to doctors, telling them their story and informing them about Lewy Body Dementia and it's effects of individuals. Mattie is what I like to call "Super Woman". She made it possible for Joe to stay at home and continue to get absolutely amazing care, while making sure he knew he was not a burden, but her loving husband and companion.
Joe's battle with Lewy Body was a battle fought by both himself and Mattie, therefore this scholarship will honor both of them.
We would love for you to join us in celebrating Joe's life and continuing to raise awareness of Lewy Body Dementia.
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