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When Mac McDermott’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, things turned bleak very quickly. “The more Alzheimer’s kicked in, the more Dad became violent—both physically and verbally—it was incredibly difficult to manage,” McDermott explained on his fundraising page. “And terrifying at times.”
To get guidance and help, McDermott frequently turned to the Alzheimer’s Society helpline. “I cannot begin to describe how a stranger’s voice at the end of the phone line helped when things got really bad,” he wrote.
To thank the Alzheimer’s Society, McDermott and his father created a series of videos with the two of them singing classic songs together. McDermott’s father had been a lounge singer and band member before he took a factory job to support his family. But his love of music has been a constant throughout his life. He was nicknamed the Songaminute Man in a tribute to all the songs he knows.
“Now when we’ve got him singing again, he’s back in the room,” McDermott writes. “It’s these moments that we treasure.”
In one video, the duo sings “Quando Quando Quando,” and his father’s personality shines through while his son looks on in admiration.
In another, his father stands in the dining room and sings “Somewhere Beyond the Sea,” his voice ringing out with great strength, seeming to transcend the disease.
Since McDermott began his fundraising drive, he has exceeded his goal of £1,000 by £70,000. As of this writing, £71,076 (over $91,000) has been raised, with over 5,000 supporters chiming in with messages of encouragement for the father and son.
McDermott writes that he is staggered by the support and encourages others in similar situations to “keep strong in the dark days.”
Lyz Lenz is currently the managing editor of the Rumpus. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Jezebel, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Mashable.