On Tuesday evening this week I had the privilege and great honour of attending the official function to farewell Glenn Rees from Alzheimer’s Australia, although he dioes not foinish in his post for another week. Of all the people in the world I have met, Glenn Rees is the only one who truly engages with people with dementia and family carers, as equals, and as having valid voices in the conversations about them. He has never patronised, nor used us in a tokenistic way, and I barely have the words to express my gratitude and thanks to him.
Graeme Samuel, our new President made a speech, and Ita Buttrose who stepped down as President not long ago made a very moving speech as well. It was clear she was deeply moved by Glenn’s unwavering passion for improving the lives of people with dementia, and their time working together and their friendship. Ron Sinclair, a consumer (family carer) made a humourous speech about the baby elephant that was the Consumer’s Dementia Research Network, and Ron had been the Chair of that group for four years.
Although unscripted and unplanned, I made a short personal speech, and also spoke as Chair of the Dementia Advisory Committee, and also co-chair if the CRDN and co-founder of Dementia Alliance International (DAI). Mostly, I spoke from my heart, as without Glenn’s vision and commitment, much of the work I have done, and achievements we have made may not have taken place in my lifetime without his unfailing support and friendship.
It has been a great honour and privilege to work with Glenn, and to call him my friend, and I for one will miss Glenn at Alzheimer’s Australia. However I am more than delighted that now Alzheimer’s Disease International are working with DAI to be the peak body for people with dementia, of which I will be a co-chair next year… and, Glenn takes on the role as Chair of ADI next April, (he is currently Chair-elect), so I will continue to work with him in some way.
Lucky me is all I have to say about that!