Building a Community Around Memories with the “Remember Me” Podcast
(above, L-R: Rachael Martinez and her dad, Frank; Maria Kent Beers and her mom, Amalia)
With every episode of the Remember Me podcast, co-hosts Maria Kent Beers and Rachael Martinez encourage listeners and all those who are care partners, family members and loved ones of persons with FTD to preserve and cherish their memories, and always accept the good.
As young mothers who both recently lost a parent to the effects of FTD, Maria and Rachael recognize the heavy burdens an FTD diagnosis can bring. Moments of love and joy are sometimes difficult to find, much less remember.
Through Remember Me, Maria and Rachael have found and provided comfort through building a community around storytelling while creating oral keepsakes that honor the lives of persons with FTD. Parents, siblings, children, and spouses from all walks of life have shared the memories and experiences of their loved ones on the podcast while also taking a moment to tell their own story of how FTD has impacted them.
While being a care partner to her mom, Amalia, who was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia and ALS in 2016, Maria was concerned that precious family memories might be slipping away.
“You lose so much with this disease. I wanted to be able to remember who she was,” Maria said. “I also believe a lot of people suffer in silence with this disease. I needed to feel a connection with others who could empathize with what I was living through.”
Hoping to overcome her sense of isolation, Maria used social media to invite others to share their experiences and memories through the first-ever podcast focused on the FTD care partner journey.
Rachael was one of the first people to respond to Maria to share her story about her dad, Frank, who was diagnosed with bvFTD in 2010. The two quickly became friends, despite living on opposite sides of the country.
“Putting together and sharing my dad’s story was very therapeutic. Storytelling for the podcast allows people to process pieces of the journey they might otherwise miss when they’re in the trenches,” Rachael said. “Sharing these traumatic experiences with others, who are also processing this experience, is very powerful.”
By sharing personal narratives about FTD, Maria and Rachael want to educate people and raise awareness about the devastating impact that this disease can have on families. Each episode explores the intertwining feelings of isolation, helplessness and grief felt by many care partners and loved ones, but also highlights the love and joy contained within those experiences. The co-hosts hope that their podcast will encourage everyone to have greater empathy and compassion for those who are affected by young-onset dementia.
“We want to provide a space where we can humanize the daily life of caring for someone with FTD. We hope to normalize the emotions that come about because of this experience,” Rachael added. “Grief, in all of its stages, is something we want to be more accepted by society.”
As the Remember Me community grows, Maria and Rachael hold true to their original tenet to always look for and accept the good things in life, especially when facing a challenging journey.
“There are so many beautiful stories out there – each one is unique and worth sharing. Each one is worth remembering,” said Maria.
AFTD’s With Love campaign and the Remember Me podcast seek to honor and preserve the memories of loved ones diagnosed with FTD, while educating people about the lived experience of this disease. AFTD would like to thank Maria and Rachael for joining our With Love 2021 campaign and raising awareness of FTD and funds to support AFTD’s mission through special Remember Me episodes. To listen to all five Remember Me x With Love collaboration episodes, please click here.
Remember Me is now in its second season. New episodes of the podcast are released weekly, and all of the episodes are available on major podcasting platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more. If you are interested in sharing your experience with FTD on Remember Me, please contact Maria and Rachael by visiting remembermeftd.com/tellyourstory.
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