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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

A dear friend produces a labor of love

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month.

Head to the website of the Alzheimer's Association of southeastern Wisconsin and you’ll find the story of Fred and Irene Ruekert of Waukesha:

“Seven years ago, the roof caved in on the couple’s happy life.  Irene could tell there was something seriously wrong with Fred.   ‘He’d put in hours and hours at work, and come home not knowing what he did all day,’ said Irene.  ‘He developed crutches at work.  He set reminders on his computer to tell him what to do and he’d have tons of Post-It notes he’d written himself fall out of his pockets.’

“The jig was up.  Fred, who had tried in vain to mask his memory loss, was unable to continue in his job and took early retirement.  Irene was heartbroken as her worst suspicions were confirmed – a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.   Fred is now 60 years old, and isn’t able to speak anymore. 

“Irene has been a full time caregiver for years, and understands better than anyone the challenges and stress that families face when caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia.  ‘There’s no shame that Fred has Alzheimer’s,’ she said.  ‘It’s an illness and it needs to be conquered.  But that will happen.”

There is no shame.

I anxiously await a special documentary that will air on Milwaukee Public Television (MPTV) on November 20 about Alzheimer’s entitled, “I Remember Better When I Paint.” The MPTV website has this summary:

“Olivia de Havilland, narrates the positive impact of art and other creative therapies on people with Alzheimer’s and how these approaches can change the way we look at the disease. Among those who are featured are noted doctors and Yasmin Aga Khan, president of Alzheimer’s Disease International and daughter of Rita Hayworth, who had Alzheimer’s.”

Hilda Goldblatt Gorenstein (Hilgos), who had Alzheimer's inspired the documentary. Hilgos saw improvement in her speech and mobility the more she painted.

This is an international documentary, but it has Milwaukee ties. The co-director studied at my alma mater, UWM. The associate producer is Mary Stott. I met Mary when we both ushered at the Performing Arts Center. We dated for some time in the early 1980’s. Mary was very special, and though we parted on our separate ways, we’ve remained very good friends even though she has lived and worked in Paris for many, many years.

Mary’s motivation for working on this documentary was her own sweet grandmother who I met when the two of us were a couple. She was a grand lady. I never saw her after Alzheimer’s set in. I only remember her without that cruel disease that robs a gentle soul.

Mary’s mother, Carol, also a dear friend, wrote a piece about the documentary for BrookfieldNOW.

I’m so proud of my old sweetheart, Mary, but nowhere near as proud as her grandmother who is smiling in heaven about her precious granddaughter who gave her so much joy.

Please don’t miss this special documentary on November 20 on Milwaukee Public Television.

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