2023 IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer's Vancouver Walk Patrons -
Sarah McLeod and Jennifer Clay, in memory of their parents Edith and Graham Clay
Graham and Edith Clay were upstanding members of the communities where they lived: medical professionals, dedicated volunteers, role models to their children and generous in support of their community.
The two met while stationed at the Royal Canadian Air Force Hospital in Grostenquin, France where Graham worked as a surgeon and Edith was a nurse who had chosen world travel over settling down.
The Clays married on their return to Canada and went on to build a full life together. Edith was president of the Vancouver Academy of Music, a member of the UBC Friends of the Garden and quintessential hostess. Graham was a clinical professor emeritus at UBC who had helped develop the Screening Mammography Program of B.C. and saved the lives of many women living with breast cancer. In their retirement, they also faced Alzheimer’s disease together.
Graham was Edith’s primary caregiver from the time she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2004, until she moved into a long-term care home in 2012. The day Edith moved into care, was the same day Graham was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“That day was devastating,” says Jennifer. “There was sadness, shock, anger – every emotion that you could possibly imagine. We had initially attributed his changes to the fatigue of providing care.”
The disease progressed quickly in both Edith and Graham from that point forward. Edith passed in 2016 and Graham, less than a year later, in 2017.
The family remembers Edith and Graham as two kind, intelligent and passionate people who were proud of their children and grandchildren, their work and their volunteer involvement in the community.
Jennifer and Sarah chose to continue their Mum and Dad’s philanthropy and have committed to ongoing annual support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. by signing a five-year pledge as Patrons of the Vancouver Walk.
“It would have been something that they would have liked: to assist families who are struggling with the disease,” Jennifer says.