Alzheimer's patients' advocate honored as a hero after her death

By Rebecca Powers - bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - The CEO of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America wrote to WLOX News about a Gulfport woman who died this past August from heart failure.

"To all those impacted by Alzheimer's Disease and to their caregivers, I make this profound announcement, one of our most compassionate and loving advocates has been taken from us," Eric Hall wrote of Rosemary Hudgins. "There is a void in our movement that can not possibly be filled by any other. To the world, I offer my regrets for the passing of one of its most caring and humane inhabitants."

Since 1998, Rosemary Hudgins had been an advocate, a crusader for not only those with the devastating disease "Alzheimer's," but for their caregivers who usually suffer the most.

"We often talk in this field about the 36 hour day, because the day just never ends for the caregiver, it just goes on and on and on," Melora Jackson said. "Caregivers get so worn down, sometimes if they're elderly themselves, they will pass away before the person they're caring for because it's so taxing."

Her dear friend Melora Jackson said that is where Rosemary will be missed most, at the side of these caregivers. She was their tireless support during home visits, she offered a strong shoulder and was always just a phone call away.

"She never got tired of helping people and she was very humble about it, she would spend as much time as need be on the phone with a caregiver just listening to their story," Jackson said. "She seemed to be that way with everybody. She always had time for people, but she never thought that she was doing anything special."

Her daughter Darcy Greene can tell you how special her Mom was. She shined so brightly in the Alzheimer's movement in South Mississippi, she was chosen to sit on its national board.

"She always wondered, Why did they pick me? I'm nobody," Darcy said. "But she was."

Ironically, while working so hard with the foundation, Rosemary's own mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. No surprise, she moved her into her home and took care of her until her death. Darcy said it is incredibly difficult and painful.

"You're watching the person you love, turn into someone totally different."

That's why finding a cure is so important. Rosemary is on everyone's mind as they prepare for this year's Memory Walk fund raiser. She will be honored that day for her tireless work in this noble cause. Her friends and family hope she knew how many lives she touched, with her commitment and compassion.

"She was very humble, and she never realized everything she did," her daughter said.

Rosemary Hudgins will be honored at this year's Memory Walk Saturday October 11, 2009 at the Biloxi Town Green. It begins at 9:15am.

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