May 15, 2011 – Pull yourself together and DO SOMETHING!


The famous words of my best friend, Jacquelyn Pierce, 4 long years ago.  Sobbing on her couch, reeling from my dad’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, overly consumed by the disease destroying our family, she literally SCREAMED me into action!

It took a few days, but once her words sank in, I started rolling a (borrowed) camera.  I had no idea what exactly would come of it all, but since I “speak” video, I started shooting what was happening to my family and what was going on inside of me.

Fast forward 4 years and 300+ hours of footage later…

…Ladies and Gentlemen, I proudly yet humbly present to you a movie trailer of my documentary in-the-making which I hope will help change the world of Alzheimer’s…


The other amazing thing is this: I’m blogging from Washington DC!!  I’ve brought my trailer, my vision and my passion to the national Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum where I hope to network, get my completion funding, and take this all to the next level…

Daddy-O would be proud!  😉

29 Responses to “May 15, 2011 – Pull yourself together and DO SOMETHING!”

  1. Karrie said

    Way to go, Jojo!!! I can’t wait to see what happens next on your amazing journey!!! Xoxo

  2. Lori Jo Vest said

    Wow, Joleen. That’s all I can say. Knock ’em dead, girlfriend!

  3. Aunt Kathy said

    Good Luck Sweetie! The trailer is beautiful and horrible, to see the demise of a man we so loved. It surely made me cry and I bet it will bring tears to the eyes of those who never even knew him and hopefully bring attention and money to the cause.

    • “Beautiful and horrible” – that’s very well put. Thanks for summing it all up so concisely. I condensed 300+hrs of footage into 3.5min and then you summed up the 3.5min into 3 perfect words! Undoubtedly, the movie will have to be infused with that crazy ol’ Firek humor in order to get people to the finish line without pushing them over the emotional edge! Thanks for your continued love and support… xo

      ~ J

  4. fran firek said

    Mommy-O is proud!!

  5. Ed Funke said

    Hi Joleen,

    I have the pleasure of knowing your Mom and Dad through your dear Aunt Kathy and look forward to the day you and I perhaps are able to meet one other. I don’t need to tell you what great people your folks are; your Dad was an amazing man. I will always remember that twinkle in his eyes, his great sense of humor, contagious laugh and now, because of this clip, his steadfast courage, as well as that of your entire family.

    The magnitude of this trailer can’t be put into words. I’ve watched it over and over, reacting the same each time. What a gift you’ve given your folks; your Dad’s legacy never to be forgotten. God bless you, your family and your work for Alzheimer’s research and awareness.

    All my best,


    • Ed, just as you watched my movie trailer over and over, I have read this message of yours over and over again. It’s one of the most beautiful notes anyone’s ever sent me!! Your message perfectly encapsulates so many wonderful traits of my dad and inspires me to keep going! I absolutely LOVE when I hear people refer to “that twinkle in his eyes”! He was so good-natured and happy – he was like magic in a bottle! I’m so pleased that you and him knew each other in this lifetime. And I very much look forward to meeting you someday as well…

      ~ J

  6. Debbie said

    Awesome video Joleen. Like Aunt Kathy, it also brought tears to my eyes when I watched it, and will watch several more times I am sure. I know everyone is so proud of you for taking on this amazing challenge to bring awareness to this horrible disease. You go girl!! Can’t wait to see the finished product. Good luck in DC!! Love you!! 🙂

    • One of my base thoughts regarding this project: Since Frank was such a great guy and was SO loved by all, he needs MORE friends!! 😉 Just because he’s gone, doesn’t mean he’s done. My goal is to introduce him to yet more friends who need to meet him and learn good things from him…

      ~ J

  7. Jan Wilhelm said

    You have a powerful story to tell . . . with many unanswered questions. Look forward to what comes next.

    With a tear (or more)
    Love and prayers,

  8. Roommate Frances said

    Proud of you!

  9. Terry McLean said

    What a touching, terrific capturing of that long and terrible journey that your family endured, and still lives with. So very proud of you! We wish you good luck & great connections in DC,
    Terry & Jay

    • Terry & Jay, it was so incredible that you posted this comment WHILE I was dining with your daughter in DC! I believe coincidences are MUCH more than just that!! 😉 Thanks for taking the journey with me…

      ~ J

  10. Melissa McCrosky said


    I was so moved by this and have sent it on to many of my family members as we dealt with this years ago with my grandpa. It is a horrible disease and I admire you so much for what you’re doing. You are amazing!

    Much love,

    • Thanks, Melissa. I hope it keeps getting passed around so that it can land in the hands of people who really need help and support. My heart goes out to all caregivers – past, present and future… xo

      ~ J

  11. Amanda Davis said

    Joleen, that was really hard to watch…your Dad would be VERY proud of you for doing this. I decided to take a break from sitting here editing photos all day to watch…I can’t imagine what editing the footage to create this film must have been like, both joyful and difficult at the same time. Wow. Can’t wait to see the film.

    • Amanda, the hardest part of editing the movie trailer was having to watch the footage from the day we put Dad in a home. 😦 (stomach flop!) I had never had the strength to watch that footage up until then. That part of the experience/story was the worst of the worst and I’ve been dreading reliving it. Even though the geriatric psych ward experience was abhorrent, that was out of our control. The guilt of having actually PUT him in a home for dementia was way too much for my heart and conscience to bear once, let alone rewatch! But, a year later, I found the strength (in the form of a deadline!) and bravely popped in a few tapes of that fateful day. SOBBING through tears… while taking scene notes… I kept repeating aloud, “Daddy-O, as horrible as that was for you – it was equally as horrible for us too! I am SO sorry…” Whew! (P.S. I’m sure I must be a tantalizing project for a shrink! lol)

      ~ J

  12. So beautifully done. Congratulations. You and your family are amazing.

    • Thanks, LouAnne! xo This path obviously spun me into a new work direction right before my eyes – which is amazing, but I wish I had been able to work with you more closely at Moving Forward. I still believe in what MF does and think it’s a wonderful and much needed service!! You have my support in all that you do!

      ~ J

  13. Joleen, I lost my amazing mother to Alzheimer’s in 2008 and watching your trailer and the WDIV interview brings back everything as though it were yesterday. Unless you have lived through watching a loved one go through Alzheimer’s you can’t really understand how devastating it can be. I always meant to journalize her journey, but life seemed to get in the way. How wonderful that you were able to do this. I was never more proud of my mother than when I watched how she dealt with her disease. I’m actually crying like a baby typing this. Good luck with your documentary. I can’t wait to see the finished product, although I’m sure I will cry like a baby watching it. God’s blessing to you and your family.
    Kim Carnahan

    • Thanks for the wonderful words of encouragement, Kim! My heart goes out to you for all that you went through with your mother. That small phrase barely scratches the surface, but I know you know what I mean! 😉 I’m so excited that you subscribed to my blog! Thanks for your support and I look forward to staying in touch… ~ Joleen

  14. mica said

    glad you had the balls to film what we go through…

    • Thank you, Mica! It was a long hard road, as it sounds like you know. 5 years after my father’s death (hard to believe!), I am recovered and pulling up my sleeves to dive into all of my raw movie footage to pick up this movie-making process once again…

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