Alzheimer’s Not Stopping One Smiths Station Man From Making Toys for Children
An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is often regarded as an end to a person’s life as they know it. However, with a good attitude and fresh perspective, it could serve as a new beginning or even a well-spring for greatness. Such is the case for Mr. Charles Clegg, who received this diagnosis in 2018, and is now bringing smiles to the faces of children worldwide as a direct result. Relying on his Baptist faith to maintain optimism, Mr. and Mrs. Clegg met with their pastor to share the update on Mr. Clegg’s health. Pastor M.R. Hamilton’s response was priceless, and worth repeating: “I can’t wait to see how God’s going to bless this.” This faith-based, forward-thinking message was exactly what the Clegg’s needed to hear. It inspired them to turn sadness into success.
Affectionately known as Bum, Mr. Clegg and his wife, Carol, decided to capture God’s blessing by handcrafting wooden toys for children. Using this as a form of therapy to keep his mind sharp, the Cleggs are changing lives every day. Columbus Memory Center (CMC), under the direction of Dr. Jonathan L. Liss, M.D., has been inspired by this turn of events. “One of our main mantras at CMC is to make lemonade out of lemons”, Dr. Liss explained. “I can’t think of a more heartwarming example. The Cleggs have taken a difficult diagnosis and used it to energize themselves to change the world. A potentially devastating diagnosis for Mr. Clegg is now the source of laughter and smiles for countless children. When you think about it, without Alzheimer’s disease, these children would not have toys. It’s amazing!”
The Cleggs have named their project For the Little Ones, From Mr. Bum. Dozens of the Cleggs’ handmade toys are being distributed around the region, and many more will be included in this year’s Operation Christmas Child boxes to be shipped worldwide throughout the upcoming holiday season. The Alzheimer’s diagnosis motivated Mr. Clegg to stimulate his brain through the type of handy work he enjoys and share that joy with children everywhere. The initial wood used for these toys came from a stockpile Mr. Clegg has been storing for his church home, Lakewood Baptist Church. Inspired by this effort, Columbus Memory Center has made a financial contribution to the furtherance of this great effort. “Mr. Clegg is making trains, and he has inspired us to hop-on”, added Dr. Liss. “We hope our contribution will allow many more children to have a quality wooden toy with which to play.”
While this is not the retirement the Clegg couple first imagined, they believe this is the retirement that was preordained. Mrs. Clegg said, “we turned it over to God and we said okay, you do it and we’ll just see what happens. And this is what happened: He opened up a whole new chapter of our lives. We thought we’d opened up a new chapter whenever he retired. We weren’t expecting this curve, but it was one of the best curves we’ve ever had.”
Courtesy: Columbus Memory Center