Editor: An overflow crowd gathered at Brookswood Fire Hall No. 5 on Sunday, May 4 to pay tribute to Brenda Reddick, who died April 13 at age 53 of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Brenda beat cancer, but she couldn’t defeat the ravages of the cruellest dementia that kills at such a comparatively youthful age.
The wife of longtime Langley firefighter Rick Reddick and mom of sons Keith and Brent was also “den mother” over the years to dozens of firefighters, who turned out in droves for the celebration of her courageous life.
She was also the first honouree, in 2011-2012, of the very first local Walk for Memories, an annual fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. that trod new territory at Aldergrove’s Athletic Park on Jan. 29, 2012.
She bravely stepped forward to be the poster face of this event, despite reeling from the recent confirmation of early-onset Alzheimer’s — a disease that had already caused her father’s death and afflicted another family member. She did so, despite some reservations voiced by family and friends, because she wanted to raise the profile of the dementia campaign and show that it affects more than the (wrongly) stereotypical image of an elderly grandmother doddering gently into her final night.
And what a difference she made. Thanks to Brenda’s courage and the support of her extended firefighting family, the first Walk for Memories raised $44,000, way beyond its organizers’ dreams. Thanks to Brenda’s bold first step, the Reddicks and that firefighting family have stayed with the Langley-Aldergrove-Abbotsford Walk for Memories through its second and third years, helping in so many ways to keep Brenda’s dream alive.
In a remarkable eulogy to his wife of 30 years, Rick Reddick said firemen are always called heroes when they save lives.
“They’re not heroes. That’s their job,” he said.“Brenda was a hero.”
That she was. She may be gone from us but, thanks to continuing support for our Walk for Memories, her courage and determination will live on.
founding chair, Langley-Aldergrove-Abbotsford Walk for Memories