Healthy Living

Teen Raises Funds for Alzheimer’s Research in Her Grandmother’s Memory

Teen Raises Funds for Alzheimer’s Research in Her Grandmother’s Memory

Barbara Toliver passed away from Alzheimer's disease in 2016. Since then, her granddaughter, Carlie Toliver, has been doing everything that she can to help raise money and awareness for the disease.

When reminiscing about her and her grandmother's time together after the disease, she mentioned that things were never same, for her grandmother and her entire family. She said, “It's a disease that affects the whole family.” The Belton teen said in an interview that, before her disease, Barbara was radiant and always brimming with excitement. Two of her most cherished memories were when Carlie was little, her grandmother would tickle her with a toy mouse and stay with her and play make-believe. Though, as Alzheimer’s ran its course, Barbara went under a long degenerative slide into dementia, one that ended with the loss of her sense of self and her death shortly after.

For Barbara, it was not all losses. Even though she no longer recognized some of her closest friends and family members, there were two specific things she was certain of: that she was immensely proud of Carlie, and that she could sing every single verse to almost any hymn.

Because of her grandmother's will to sing, Carlie thought that the best way to honor her would be through the music that she loved until the very end.

For this reason, Carlie founded a benefit concert for the Alzheimer’s Association alongside her friend Hannah Parker, called Music for Memory.

Carlie rationalized that, despite never recognizing anyone around her or forgetting how to perform simple tasks, she would spring back to life when she heard a hymn. Whenever her grandmother would hear her favorite type of music, she would be brought out of her stupor and begin to sing as if there was nothing wrong with her. She might not remember her own name, but she could recall all the words of a hymn from memory, even the ones Carlie didn’t know.

"She might not necessarily know who was around her, might not know the names of anything, but the second she heard a hymn, she would start singing all the words, the verses, things that I might not even know. But she would know it better than anybody that I'd ever seen because it was associated with music. And I realized how much power there was with music with diseases like this," Carlie said.

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