Doris Mirwaldt, retired Vice President of Business Development from the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and former Chief Financial Officer of The American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana is about to add another title to her resume: AUI volunteer!

“I was watching the local news,” she said, “and AUI was highlighted. I was intrigued, because 18 years ago my mother suffered from dementia. In the process of caring for her, I discovered that music evoked emotions and memories.”

Each year, the dementia worsened, to the point that Doris’ mother couldn’t remember her own children. Then one day, Doris turned on the radio in the car. She looked in the rearview mirror and was fascinated by what she saw. Her mother was sitting in the back seat, bouncing around to the music.

“I pulled out all of the old music,” she said. “The twinkle in her eye as she was dancing, moving with the music, humming, and singing in her native language to some of the songs just warmed my heart. My mother was born in Riga, Latvia. It’s the capital city, and it is beautiful. Music from her homeland is the music we grew up with. I had a lot of the CDs. She would wear furry pink slippers in her wheelchair, and every time I played that music, that fur was shaking and a movin’. Every time, she was back in the old country in the concert hall.”

After seeing the news story about AUI, Doris knew she had to get involved. “I called Anna Ross and asked how I could help,” she said. “Music and the arts do have an effect on folks who have forgotten and been forgotten.”

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