Hyde award winning cartoonist uses talents to raise awareness of dementia

Our editor Bob Alston has had his own personal experience of dementia through his dad, just like Private Eye cartoonist Tony Husband. Here he takes a look at two of Tony’s books about the disease.

Renowned and multi-award winning cartoonist, Tony Husband from Hyde, first encountered dementia with his dad, Ron.

Tony decided to document his dad’s condition in the best way he knew, by drawing cartoons about it, and in 2014 these were compiled into a book entitled “Take Care Son – The Story of My Dad and His Dementia”. It’s a graphic journey that for some will be a reminder of their experience with their loved one too, including myself – my own dad’s journey with dementia is very similar to Tony’s.

The title of the book came from what Tony’s dad said to him. As Tony was leaving after visiting his dad he would say goodbye, and his dad would respond with “Take Care Son”.

Dementia can be sad to witness in a loved one, and sometimes it’s funny at first when, for example, they turn up on the wrong day for something, and you make a joke about it. Then things like this happen more frequently and that’s when the alarm bells start to ring.

For me, reading “Take Care Son” brought a smile to my face and I even laughed out loud at times, as I saw similarities in my dad’s journey with dementia and the things we said to each other. I encourage anyone remotely linked with this disease to give the book a read. I’m sure, like me, it will make you smile too.

Tony is a keen supporter when it comes to highlighting dementia and offers help wherever he can. To this end, he has recently worked in collaboration with author Gina Awad to illustrate her latest book called “United – Caring for our loved ones living with dementia”.

“United” highlights the desperate lack of funding for those living with dementia and for their carers too, whether they are family members or those organisations that offer vital support. The World Alzheimer Report in 2021 states that approximately 56 million people are living with dementia, but this figure only includes those who had been formally diagnosed. What about the others?

Gina states in her book: “I have worked with Tony Husband, the wonderful cartoonist for this book, on several dementia-related projects over the past five years. Tony’s illustrations tell the stories with such eloquence, heart and sensitivity that readers will come away smiling, moved and nodding with recognition.”

The book contains seven personal real-life stories told by carers of those loved ones living with dementia. All the identities were changed except for one, which is about John and Nobby. Some of you of a certain age will remember Nobby, but I’ll let you find out more for yourselves!

As with Tony’s book, “United” has a collection of individual first-hand accounts of what it was like caring for someone who is living with dementia. It’s a lovely, heart-warming book and each story is different but the diagnosis remained constant and so does the love and care exhibited by those that travel the dementia road together.

What is also clear is that by coming together and sharing experiences, a community develops where everyone can support each other.

Dementia Resources

Useful resources on dementia can be obtained from the following agencies:

Alzheimer’s Society – www.alzheimers.org.uk

Carers UK – www.carersuk.org

Dementia Carers Count – www.dementiacarers.org.uk

Dementia UK – www.dementiauk.org

Living with Dementia Toolkit – www.livingwithdementiatoolkit.org.uk

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Bob Alstonhttps://talkingaboutmygeneration.co.uk/author/bobtamg/
Tameside reporter, website and magazine designer and editor.

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