"Little did I know that our world was about to turn upside down."


Cheryl (pictured) lives with young onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband, Mike, would like to share his experience as Cheryl was diagnosed and as the disease progressed, as well as how the Alzheimer Society has supported them and the way that people like you can help the Society continue this support.

"Little did I know that our world was about to turn upside down." Cheryl, who lives with dementia.

Just two years ago the future looked bright. I had recently changed jobs to spend more time with my wife, Cheryl, and our two sons. They would soon be leaving the nest, and Cheryl and I were looking forward to our next chapter together. 

Little did I know that our world was about to turn upside down.

It started with little things

Cheryl, who is usually such a calm and happy person – started becoming anxious. She was suddenly afraid of the dark and didn’t want to be alone. 

When she also became confused, I worried it might be Alzheimer’s disease – Cheryl’s dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in has late 70s. But then I thought, Cheryl’s too young. She’s only 57. It couldn’t be dementia. Could it? 

It was. On November 16, 2019, Cheryl was diagnosed with young onset dementia. Things went downhill fast. By Christmas she was inarticulate. By January she needed bathroom help. By February she couldn’t feed herself. And then in March, the pandemic hit.

Still reeling from the diagnosis, I found myself working from home, being a full-time caregiver for Cheryl, managing the house and trying to be there for my sons. It was all so overwhelming.

That’s when the Alzheimer Society stepped in

They found an in-person day program Cheryl could attend and they helped me understand symptoms like sundowning, which explained Cheryl’s fear of the dark. But honestly the biggest thing was just having someone to talk to and tell me, “We’re going to help”.

Thanks to caring donors, the Alzheimer Society was there for me when I needed them the most. Today, if you can, I hope you help other families who may be struggling by making a donation that will be matched dollar for dollar by a group of generous donors.   

Did you know?

By 2034, more than 1 million Canadians will be living with dementia. As the number of wives, husbands, moms and dads touched by dementia escalates, so too does the demand for the programs and services the Alzheimer Society provides. 

Your donation today will help the Alzheimer Society expand their programs and services and enhance their online offerings to reach more families like mine. Your gift will also help fund innovative dementia research that could lead to the breakthroughs we so urgently need. 

My hope is that one day a cure will be found so that no one else has to experience the devastation this disease causes. It never occurred to me that this would be my life. My wife’s life. My sons’ lives. Then two years ago, almost to the day, everything changed. And nothing, not even Christmas, will ever be the same again.

Dementia is a thief

It has robbed me of my wife. It has robbed my sons of their mother. It’s robbed our family of a future together. We need to raise more money to stop this disease from stealing lives. 

Please help by making an online donation. Your gift by December 31st, 2021, will be matched up to $100,000 to make 2X the impact. 

I hope you’ll also consider monthly giving. Monthly donations are easy to set up, budget-friendly and the best way to help fund essential programs and services, as well as critical dementia research. Thanks to the gift match, your monthly donation will be doubled for one whole year!

Nothing prepares you for dementia. But with your generous donation, you can ensure families like mine have somewhere to turn for information, support and those ever so important words, “We’re going to help.”



Mike Albani, husband, caregiver and advocate

P.S. Please make your donation by December 31st to make 2X the impact in the lives of people living with dementia.

Young onset dementia

When symptoms of dementia start before the age of 65, we call it "young onset dementia." And there's a lot to learn about it. Our Canadian knowledge hub for young onset dementia draws on the experiences and insights of many people, families and researchers.

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Programs and services

The Alzheimer Society can help you face dementia. Use this page as your guide to find support programs, dementia education and resources, referral services and more.

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National dementia ambassador Tanis Rummery.

Our impact

Read about the impact that the Alzheimer Society brings to the lives of Canadians who have been affected by dementia.

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