The founder of the Alzheimer’s association honored for the creation of a support group


HENRICO, Virginia (WWBT) – Life will test you, and when it does, support can make all the difference.

For Mary Margaret Fosmark, that test came when her 39-year-old husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It was almost a relief to get the diagnosis because then you had a name for it, although that name came without a cure,” Fosmark said.

Watching her husband slowly walk away was difficult, but Fosmark joined a support group known as the Butterfly Group, to give him comfort.

“There were times when I didn’t think I would make it, and this group got me out of the woods. If you have problems you can discuss it, some people can make suggestions, you can accept them, you can leave them, no one is judging you, and that’s great, ”Fosmark said.

The group is a therapeutic space where caregivers can express their difficulties, share their good practices and find a reason to continue.

In her darkest hours, Mary Margaret found the strength to do so.

“After my husband died, I stayed in there because it meant a lot to me – during the time I was going through,” Fosmark said.

Fosmark’s passion for this band grew out of admiration for the woman who created it, Mary-Ann Johnson.

“I think my reward is always working with them, and I always tell them, no matter what time of day or night, they can always call me,” Johnson said.

Fosmark appreciates Johnson’s willingness to help, whatever the time of day.

“She gives of her time, her energy, her mind,” she said.

At their last meeting, Mary Margaret and the rest of the “butterflies” came up with a different kind of reward: $ 300 and a $ 50 gift card to Restaurant Mexico.

When I walked in I was thinking, man, this band has grown! Who are all these people? I don’t handle surprises well, so I started to see who they were, ”Johnson says.

A sweet moment for a group of people who walked in as strangers became something even more special.

“It’s family, it’s family,” Fosmark said.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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