Author raises Alzheimer’s awareness and support through book

Ellen Adams

After publishing her first book, “Journey of the Heart: A Family Affair,” author Ellen Adams found a calling to help caretakers and family members of those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Her book, written under the pen name Nora Rebecca Day, tells the story of her mother’s struggle with cardiovascular dementia after a series of strokes and how those trials led Adams on a journey to find her voice and grow in her faith.

After her mother passed away in 2006, Adams began in 2010 compiling journal entries and letters written during that time period into a story that tells the full scope of the effects on her and her family.

“It’s a long labor of love. It’s been a work in progress for quite a while,” she said. “It took a long while to wrestle with some of those issues and get them down.”

Having written the events as they happened in the form of journal entries, Adams said her publisher from Balboa Press insisted she revisit her story and change all the person and location names in the story to keep anonymity and privacy.

“I wrestled with that a long while; in fact it was almost a deal breaker,” she said. “What I decided eventually was that the names weren’t that important. The important thing was to tell the story and tell it true.”

Cardiovascular dementia shares many characteristics with Alzheimer’s disease, and Adams found that many readers who connected with “Journey of the Heart” had similar experiences and struggles caring for their loved ones. According to her research into the Alzheimer’s Association facts and figures, she learned that in 2015 a person receives a diagnosis for the disease every 60 seconds.

“It just really awakened a commitment in me to do what I can to aid research and treatment and care,” she said.

To help provide that aid, Adams will be independently donating 10 percent of her book sales to the Alzheimer’s Association. Author signings at Winchester Book Gallery and Royal Oak Bookshop meant that both stores waived any commission and instead added an additional 10 percent of sales to those donations. Royal Oak owner Kevin Seabrook said the shop will leave a donation jar for those who wish to contribute further.

Those portions and independent donations will go with Adams to the Northern Shenandoah Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Handley High School on Oct. 2, where she will lead the Light Steppers team in the walk to raise awareness and funds.

“Journey of the Heart: A Family Affair” is available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press as a Kindle book for $3.99, in paperback for $14.99 and in hardback for $33.95. After the Royal Oak Bookshop signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 26, signed paperback copies will be available there and at Winchester Book Club for $15.

Adams said her book gave her an opportunity to move forward with a message of hope for those in similar situations to hers, as well as a reminder that they’re not alone.

“In the end I can see where the hand of God was with us all along,” she said. “There were momentary miracles and fireflies and grace that brightened the darkest days and it made me feel good about the journey that it had gone as well as it could.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com