By Leslie Quintanar
Several months ago, I stumbled upon a Facebook Page titled Mother and Son's Journey with Dementia. I joined the group and as I did further discovery realized it was linked to Molly’s Movement, which started as a video series on Jan 17, 2017.
I loved following Molly and Joey’s YouTube series, and though I haven’t been able to watch all the videos, the ones I have seen are heartfelt and real and don’t shrink from all the stark truths that accompany this disease.
The videos are not always easy to watch. Joey watched his mother descend into the abyss of Lewy body dementia at the age of 65 (when she was diagnosed) and decided he was not content to sit by and watch it take his mother without a fight. He launched the video series to document the real effects of dementia; and to allow us all to see it in action, not simply read the statistics.
According to the Molly’s Movement site, the videos have been watched more than 80 million times worldwide and the Facebook group currently has over 125,000 members
Let’s let those numbers sink in . . . 80 million views and over 100,000 people actively engaged on the Facebook page is no small feat. In fact, it's remarkable.
No doubt most of you reading this post are industry veterans and are very familiar with the ravages of this disease. But how many times do we still encounter people who seem to have no idea what Alzheimer’s or any other dementia really is, or even how it impacts someone?
Joey’s videos and the launch of Molly’s Movement have pulled back the veil; they have taken away the need to communicate about the ways it impacts each person’s cognitive, psychosocial, and physical well-being and made it accessible to so many more people for one reason -- he is simply a son who loves his mother deeply and is determined to see her life make an impact that will last long after she is gone.
There is something so powerful and personal about his mission and that is what has drawn people in and made them feel they are not alone battling this disease with their loved ones. Day after day I see posts from people on my Facebook newsfeed who are caring for a parent, spouse, or other loved one, sharing their joys, sorrows, and memories with others who know what they are experiencing. It is a beautiful network of people who love someone who has been afflicted with a terrible disease; and in sharing in this forum, they find hope to keep going when the road is often terribly hard.
A video camera and a heart full of love
Joey didn’t start a special foundation or get a star to be his spokesperson but instead started his YouTube series with a video camera on the dashboard of his car that he took with him when he visited his mom in a skilled nursing home. They are raw and real and don’t shrink from the hard days when Molly cries during his visits.
They are also full of joyful moments when she still laughs and smiles and enjoys Frosty’s. Most of all, they are filled with love. The love of a son who wants to honor his mother through the disease that seeks to take her from him. The love of a mother who, though she cannot remember many things, knew her love for her son.
Molly passed away a few weeks ago, but Joey remains confident that dementia did not steal her life from her; rather he maintains that through her willingness to document her life over the last 17 months, she has done just the opposite.
He maintains that she robbed from dementia by helping countless people know they are not alone, not lose hope, and to keep moving forward. Thousands of people all over the world went to Wendy’s and purchased Frosty’s in Molly’s honor after the news broke that she was gone. It was a beautiful tribute to a woman who only wanted to help people and who deeply loved her son.
A Lasting Impact
Thank you, Joey, for documenting your mom's story for us all to see, and thank you, Molly, for impacting the way people see dementia. May we all continue to move forward like the grasshopper Joey’s mom always loved and never stray from our purpose of seeking to raise awareness and bring hope to those who are in the midst of dealing with this terrible disease. May we continue to rob from dementia as we fight for so many others who, like Molly, want their love to count for something greater than themselves.
In case you haven’t seen them, I am including one of the video's Joey made. If you are interested in seeing more, there are 50 you can view!