Nancy's Legacy

To Our Many Friends:

Nancy and I had the privilege of working and living in several countries as well as in Alaska while I worked for ARCO Oil & Gas Company. Our daughter, Heather, was born in Surabaya, Indonesia and our youngest daughter, Amy, was born in Anchorage, Alaska.

In the early years of our 44-year marriage, Nancy practiced physical therapy in Anchorage, Alaska. She developed a special program for homeless natives who had been burned in village accidents. This sizable population that continues to benefit from Nancy’s pioneering work in the early 1970s.

When we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nancy was not allowed to formally practice. So she ‘volunteered’ to teach physical therapy to nursing aides in many small village hospitals. Once she even did this at the Bogor leper colony, much to my dismay. She also taught blind Indonesian children how to swim and taught others how to do this seemingly impossible task.

When we decided to adopt a child, the Indonesian generals’ wives, who knew of Nancy’s tireless and unpaid work in the interior of the island of Java, helped us find Heather at the Salvation Army hospital in Surabaya, East Java. On July 4, 1976, we were one of only two ARCO couples invited by the US Ambassador to the embassy for the official celebration. The invitation was for Nancy, who agreed to take me along!

While we were living in Ankara, Turkey, Nancy visited the local government orphanages and found they all had very bad roach problems. She talked the foreign oil executives into sponsoring exterminator programs that eliminated this problem for hundreds of children.

Back in the US, Nancy practiced geriatric therapy for many years, culminating in her role as Regional Rehab Director for 13 managed care facilities in charge of all physical, speech, occupational and respiratory therapy.

In 2003, after 30 years of physical therapy practice and health care management – much of it in geriatric medicine practice – Nancy was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. We were extremely lucky to have her diagnosis and medical treatment at the University of California, Irvine’s Institute of Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders where a very high level of brain research is being conducted.

Nancy's sister, Mary Ellen, a nurse by training and is the Senior Director of Case Management and Medical Social Work at the Chicago area NorthShore University HealthSystem. Mary Ellen has been our family's medical ‘rock’ since Nancy was diagnosed with this horrible disease. The NorthShore University HealthSystem has an Alzheimer’s facility.

Donations to the Nancy Imlay Edwards Foundation will be passed directly on to these two institutions in Nancy’s name in the hope that a vaccine and cure will be found for Alzheimer’s before our two daughters – now in their 30s – reach an age where this disease could strike.

We have received IRS approval for donations to Nancy’s foundation to be tax deductible and would welcome your participation in this very important cause.

In the 8 years since this foundation was created, we have been able to make several donations to institutions directly seeking a cure for Alzheimer's and developing medications that prolong a good life for those diagnosed with this disease.

Bill Edwards, Husband, and Best Friend to Nancy for 50 years