Why is it so important to us?

September is World Alzheimer’s awareness month!

PURPLE is to Alzheimer’s what Pink is to Breast Cancer.
This is the reason we chose purple flamingos to put in front of our first store in Mill Creek when there was an Alzheimer’s fundraiser walk going by. The flamingos made people smile! Then people wanted to buy them.

In Bellingham we decided we wanted to be SUPER purple; so we painted the store and then our creative staff designed and built Filly-Mingo the huge flamingo in front of the store.

We have raised thousands of dollars for the Bellingham Alzheimer’s Society with our change jars and events and WE HOPE this month YOU WILL HELP us!

Next year we hope to open the ‘Purple Flamingo café. We are commented to donating 10% of the profits to Bellingham Dementia Northwest, our local Alzheimer’s Society.

Why do we care so much? My name is Jenny and I am the co-owner of My Garden Nursery. I have been in the nursery business for over 40 years. I have dreamed of owning my own nursery since my first job. I have to believe that the reason Bill & I have finally achieved that dream is greater than just selling plants.

I also have to believe there is a bigger reason for both of my parents having Alzheimer’s. I am strongly convinced that the two combined factors have steered us toward doing something positive by raising money for the Alzheimer’s cause.

My dad was my Hero. He was a husband, father, & a grandpa. He was also a magical gardener who before my eyes turned sticks into trees and I was his little Jenny who followed him around the garden.

Dad started forgetting little things, names and words but quickly progressed to not being able to write, getting lost and then one day he didn’t know who I was. The hardest thing we caregivers do is fighting with ourselves the need for the person with dementia to know who we are. Once we can let go of that, we can try to live in the moments and find the love & laughter. But getting there was the hardest thing I have ever done. My dad has been gone over 20 years. There were lots of loving and funny moments & that is what I hang on to.

My sweet Mom was also a victim of Alzheimer’s. She was a poet; president of the WA Poets Association, and did crossword puzzles constantly. She read everything she could get her hands on. Words were her life & then the words were gone. She passed away several years ago and today I am still as committed to raising money for this tragic disease as I was then.

To understand Alzheimer’s, imagine your best friend, your parent, or your spouse & all the memories you share. You both relive precious moments & feelings just by looking at each other, a photograph or hearing a song. Now imagine only a blank stare. You lose your loved one as they literally go from being the light of your life to becoming, in essence, a stranger. You grieve a loss even though they are right in front of you.

Thank you for helping us support Bellingham's 'Dementia Support Northwest',

Jenny Gunderson