You know it is a slow news day when they put ME on the front page of the paper, above the fold.
The electronic link contains basically the same text as the print article, with a different title:
Blog chronicled woman's dad's experience with Alzheimer's
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 10:17 pm
WALLINGFORD - Search "Alzheimer's blog" on Google and the No. 1 result, above the Mayo Clinic, belongs to a local woman who chronicled the experience from when her father was diagnosed until his death 1,253 days later.
Roberta Piedmont's blog "Had a dad," began as a way to express what she was going through, dealing with her father's disease, but it quickly grew in popularity and became a source of support for others.
"I started it the day my dad was diagnosed," Piedmont said. "I wanted it to be a record of what happened - a journal."
Eventually more and more people started reading it and reaching out to her. Piedmont said she began to see the blog as an important tool for helping others going through the same thing realize they are not alone
"I wrote about the suckiest things," Piedmont said. "I wrote about embarrassing, terrible and awful things. Other people think they're alone, but they're not."
Piedmont's father, Bob Rizza, worked for more than 30 years in the car business in Meriden and Wallingford before he had to retire at age 62 due to the beginning stages of the disease. He was diagnosed a year later, on June 21, 2004, and died on Nov. 26, 2007.
Christina Bowers, a friend of Piedmont's whose mother suffered from dementia, said that Piedmont always talked about the blog. "She's a writer at heart, this is who she is," Bowers said.
Bowers said she felt that she and Piedmont were on a journey together, and they often swapped stories. It made her feel better, Bowers said, to be able to confide in someone who was dealing with a similar situation.
"There are some resources out there, but a lot of them require you to make a phone call or meet with strangers," Bowers said. "On the Internet, you're anonymous. Roberta found it soothing."
Joyce Kent, another friend of Piedmont's, said the blog was an important tool to chronicle what her father was going through so other people in the same situation could relate and compare. Kent said the blog helps from "the research end of things." With blogs such as Piedmont's people can compare symptoms, timelines and get a better understanding of how the disease affects different individuals, Kent said. Kent had a close friend who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and could sympathize with what Piedmont was going through, she said.
Piedmont has kept up with the blog since her father's death, though she admits she doesn't post as often as she used to. On Wednesday, going back to posts from 2004, Piedmont said she likes the blog because it gives her the ability to relive a memory if she wants to, but that "these memories aren't stuck in my head, I've written them down on paper."
She also hopes the blog will shed light on some of the effects of Alzheimer's that people don't like to admit. Alzheimer's is often portrayed in movies and television as a disease that one can "snap in and out of," like in the movie "The Notebook," Piedmont said." But "once they're gone, they're gone," she said.
Piedmont has donated money to the Alzheimer's Association in the past, but has a big fundraiser in the works for this weekend. She is hosting a tag sale on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at her home, with the help of Kent, Bowers and several other friends. She said she had been planning a tag sale for a while, but when she learned the Alzheimer's Association was temporarily matching donations, she got friends together for a sale. All the proceeds will go to the association.
Piedmont said she hopes the money will help the association in its efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer's. Of the terminal disease, Piedmont said, "I know cancer survivors, but there are no Alzheimer's survivors."
"I lost my dad," she said. "If I can help save somebody else's dad, it's worth it."
Visit Piedmont's blog at alzheimersdad.blogspot.com.
I've already gotten one call, from a lady whose husband died of Alzheimer's, who is bringing by a bunch of stuff to donate. That brings it to 7 families and 1 business. I am humbled.
4 hours ago