Bethel student raises support and funds for Alzheimer’s awareness through published book.
Meghan Duerre | Freelance
Formerly a pageant champion as Miss Brainerd Lakes, Bailey Wachholz now represents the Alzheimer’s Association as an advocate and a published author. The senior recently wrote a children’s book called Such a Pretty Young Lady: Grandma’s Journey with Alzheimer’s, a true story inspired by a family she knows from her home town of Nisswa, Minn.
“The Moore family have been long time clients of the salon where I work,” Wachholz said of the story’s subject. “When Gramma Mary came to live with them she became a weekly client. KC and Kathy, Gramma Mary’s son and daughter-in-law, would faithfully bring her to the salon and their two youngest daughters were in town, too.” The Moores were known throughout Nisswa and Bailey’s mother, Pamela, saw firsthand the relationship between Gramma Mary and her family.
“The grandma never knew who her grandchildren were and would constantly ask who those ‘pretty young ladies’ were,” Pamela said. “The grandchildren would graciously re-introduce themselves to their Gramma.” The book’s title,Such a Pretty Young Lady, was derived from these encounters.
Wachholz wanted to accurately capture this family and who their grandmother was. By visiting their home, she was able to connect with the entire family and gather perspectives for her book. Gramma Mary’s granddaughter, an 11-year-old also named Mary, illustrated the final copy.
Bringing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease to children is not new to Wachholz. She has been trained by the Minnesota and North Dakota Alzheimer’s Association to speak on the disease and is very passionate about it, as her father was diagnosed when she was 13.
“I never imagined that Alzheimer’s could happen to a parent when I was so young,” Wachholz said. “A lot of my feelings came from my un-education about dementia as a whole and Alzheimer’s disease specifically.”
Her goal in writing Such a Pretty Young Lady was to help educate children about the disease, making it more understandable and less scary for young children.
“My focus has always been on educating the younger generation, so writing a children’s book has allowed me to leave something tangible for the younger students I speak to,” she said. Wachholz’s mother is proud of all her daughter has accomplished.
“[Bailey] developed the first and only educational program and brought it into elementary schools in our community,” Pamela said. “Word quickly spread and she was invited to speak at various schools throughout Minnesota.” Wachholz mother reminisced on a speech that her daughter gave at the state dementia conference called Meeting of the Minds. She sat in the back, proud of the young women her daughter had become.
Getting her children’s book published was a long process, Wachholz said, but the experience it gave her and the education it gave others has been worth it.
“This book was never about the money, but rather the opportunity to bring more awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and to highlight families who have become caregivers for parents or grandparents,” she said.
Over the past two months, Wachholz has been able to make donations to the Alzheimer’s Association through her children’s book sales; with all of the proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. Such a Pretty Young Lady: Grandma’s Journey with Alzheimer’s was published through Amazon. Since its release Wachholz has been busy with book signings and readings across the state.