Am so excited, I just found my original email to Christine Bryden. I have not seen it since I wrote it almost 3 years ago.
In my usual raw and open style I would like to share with you what I wrote (I am sure Christine won’t mind). What is amazing is that this week I fulfilled the dream I had in the email to meet Christine.
MY EMAIL TO CHRISTINE:
My name is Brett Partington and I have been compelled to contact you ever since you were profiled on Australian Story on the ABC.Congratulations on your incredible achievements and inspirational story, as well as being the ‘leading voice of Alzheimer’s in Australia’.
I have a very strong passion to follow in your footsteps in being ‘another voice’ for people with dementia. I have long term aspirations to write a book one day, but more importantly make a difference to so many people who aren’t being heard…right now. I am not even sure what is driving me to throw myself into this arena, how I am going to do it, or where it will end up? What I do know is that I have a lot of passion and drive, and really care about people with dementia.
I am not an academic, I have no healthcare experience, and to be completely honest I knew absolutely nothing about dementia until just under 12 months ago when I discovered my Dad had Alzheimer’s ( He was diagnosed 18 months earlier but I was unaware of this fact). My learning curve in this time has been vertical and I simply cannot get enough information on the subject. My areas of interest are early onset dementia as well as creating awareness in the community and breaking down the stigmas associated with people with dementia. I believe the fact I am prepared to share our ‘warts and all’ story may be a unique and interesting way to gain dementia awareness traction in the community. The fact I am just an ordinary person who has had this disease come out of nowhere and change our family situation in a very short time, may resonate with lots of other families and be a different path to raising awareness in the community.
My Dad ( Robert Partington) has Alzheimer’s and is currently 70 years old. He is the youngest
person in the Memory Support Unit of his Eldercare Aged Care Home in Adelaide. We are battling with Dad’s degradation each day, and even though he is becoming weaker and losing his memories, I seem to be gaining strength, knowledge and determination to help other families dealing with the disease. My main drive is to simply help the average Australian person understand the impact of dementia on families, and ensure people with dementia are treated with dignity and respect.
The Partington family are ‘born communicators’ who are compassionate and intuitive, and get along with people from all walks of life. I seem to be making an impact on my close friends and
family by sharing our good and bad experiences in a raw and open manner, which allows them to gain insight and actually feel like they are on the journey with us. I am hoping I can get a similar result to a wider audience by somehow using my ‘down to earth’ approach.I am documenting my day to day experiences with Dad so I can actually soak up what has happened at a later date, as I am so close to the action I almost feel like I am a resident in the nursing home.
What is different about me is that I have thrown myself into volunteering for Alzheimer’s Australia to possibly speak to community groups etc in the near future, and I am also currently volunteering at my Dad’s nursing home running the ‘Men’s Group’. This has allowed me to further understand dementia ‘first hand’, and also gain insight into the inner workings of an aged care home.
I visit Dad 5-6 days per week and assist with washing, medication, and daily requirements. I originally had no idea what went on in a nursing home, and never dreamed I would be caring for Dad on such a
close level. My long term aim is to hopefully one day help to gain purpose built ‘age specific’ care facilities for people with early onset dementia. This is so badly needed in my opinion.
I was hoping to possibly meet you one day for a chat to find out more about your amazing work and see if you could assist me in finding the best way to use my raw skills to benefit Alzheimer’s Australia. I think you are doing an amazing job as a spokesperson and we need to encourage others to carry on your fabulous groundbreaking work.
I live in Adelaide but do travel interstate from time to time, so hopefully I can meet you face to face one day. I am really keen to get your feedback on how I should go about making maximum impact as quickly as possible. I also have very strong links with Virtual Reality technology ( sometimes
used in creating experiences for people with dementia) and I also play drums in a 10 piece dance band called ‘The Holeproofs’ that are prepared to donate a local show to fundraise money for the cause.
I am 46 years old and work with 15 fabulous ladies every day as Managing Director of a national award winning retail fashion store called ‘Sydney Street’.
Christine, you are such a trailblazer and an influential person and it is this ‘magic’ that I want to hopefully learn from you one day.I would imagine that you are very busy and I thank you for taking the time to read my email. I look forward to reading your books in the very near future also.