Founder of Alzheimer’s organization honored for creating support group

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 9:55 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:55 AM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Life will test you, and when it does, having support can make all the difference.

For Mary Margaret Fosmark, that test came when her husband of 39 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“It was almost a relief to get the diagnosis because then you had a name for it, although that name came with no cure,” said Fosmark.

Watching her husband slowly slip away was difficult, but Fosmark joined a support group known as a group of butterflies, to bring her comfort.

“There were times when I didn’t think that I would make it, and this group pulled me through. If you have any problems, you can discuss them in there, some people might offer suggestions, you can take it, you can leave it, nobody judges you, and that’s great,” said Fosmark.

The group is a therapeutic space where caregivers can express hardships, share best practices and find a reason to keep going.

In her darkest hour, Mary Margaret found the strength to do just that.

“After my husband died, I stayed in it because it meant so much to me - during the time I was going through it,” said Fosmark.

Fosmark’s passion for this group is born 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 the night, they can always call me,” said Johnson.

Fosmark appreciates Johnson’s willingness to help out, no matter what time of day.

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

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

When I walked in I was thinking, man this group grew! Who are all these people? I don’t handle surprises well, then I began to see who they were,” says Johnson.

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

“This is family, this is family,” said Fosmark.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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