Celebrating the life and memory of a beloved husband a walk in the park

Srivastava’s wife Mridula and daughter, Nirja, have been driving and visiting parks together. (Photos courtesy of the Alzheimer Society)

Ashwini was a nature lover. Walks and park visits were a cornerstone in their family’s lives. Even after Ashwini was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he and his wife, Mridula, continued to walk together. This year, Mridula took on a big goal – she plans to visit a total of 150 parks during Canada’s 150th anniversary to raise awareness, fundraise and commemorate her late husband.

Ashwini Srivastava was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1997, which took his life 10 years later.

Ashwini was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1997 and came as a total shock to his wife.

“I didn’t even know what dementia or Alzheimer’s meant, and we were left without resources to understand how our lives would be impacted, or where to go for support,” Mridula says.

Mridula noticed that walking seemed to soothe her husband. Even as the disease progressed, her husband would relish any opportunity to go for walks. Indoors, he would sometimes pace and for Mridula, this became a reminder of the nature lover that he’d always been.

Alzheimer’s disease ultimately claimed Ashwini’s life 10 years after being diagnosed. Now, Mridula wants to do whatever she can to help find a cure and build awareness for the disease.

There is still no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and no fully effective prevention methods. While research continues to expand in the areas of diagnoses, cure and care, families like Mridula’s are still left with unanswered questions.

“One of the most valuable contributions is building awareness. By putting on a fundraiser, I am able to promote something that I truly care about. Even with a small event, I am able to promote awareness about this disease,” says Mridula.

By the end of August, she had already visited 130 parks as part of her fundraiser, and plans to complete the remaining 20 park visits before Christmas Eve.

“I wish that one day a cure is discovered for this disease. In the meantime, all we can do is help those in need in whatever way we can. For me, it is fundraising and at the same time visiting the beauty that Canada has to offer,” Mridula explains. “When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.”

To learn more about possible fundraising initiatives in support of the Alzheimer Society, visit www.memorymakersforalzheimers.ca.