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Durham author publishes book of poetry to honour late father

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WATCH: A Durham author has published a literary ode to her late father. It's a compilation of poetry, and a portion of the proceeds are going to the local Alzheimer society, a cause that's near and dear to her heart. Aaron Streck reports – Feb 26, 2021

A Durham author has published a literary tribute to her late father.

It’s a compilation of poetry, and a portion of the proceeds are going to the local Alzheimer society, a cause that’s near and dear to her heart.

“You feel like you lose your parent twice with Alzheimer’s,” said Lisa Chaplin, author of The Singing Cane.

The park near her house is where Chaplin goes to escape.

“I can come here and it’s quiet here, the birds sing, the water running in the stream and you can kind of be alone,” said Chaplin.

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It’s also the place that unleashes her creativity. It was along the path that she was inspired to write her new poetry book as a tribute to her father, who passed away almost four years ago from Alzheimer’s.

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“My husband had hip replacement surgery last spring and we were going for walks to help his rehabilitation and he was using my dad’s cane, and we heard this sound we couldn’t figure out what it was and then when it happened again we realized it was the wind whistling through the holes in my dad’s cane,” said Chaplin.

The Singing Cane was a collaboration between Chaplin and her sister, Lynn Smith. It was published on what would have been their father’s 88th birthday last month.

“We know our dad kind of had a hand in all these things so it was like the best gift we could give back to him,” said Smith, who was the artist for the book.

“He read his entire life, and walked and exercised, he did crossword puzzles, he did word search, he used his mind so it was so sad to see someone so smart suffering from such a terrible disease,” said Chaplin.

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Three hundred copies of the books were printed. Through her dad’s decade-long battle with the disease, the family relied heavily on the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region, where a portion of the proceeds will go.

“We know my dad would have just wanted to help others suffering from the same thing,” said Chaplin.

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“They have travelled the dementia journey, they know what it’s like and they wanted to support others who are also travelling that journey so we’re very thankful that they chose the Alzheimer society to give back to,” said Denyse Newton, Alzheimer Society of Durham Region CEO.

As for Chaplin, she says she not only felt him in the park that day, she also felt him every step of the way on her literary journey.

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