2017 EPC Nominee: Mary Beth Wighton

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Everyday Political Citizen Tuesday, October 31, 2017 View Count = 1755

2017 EPC Nominee: Mary Beth Wighton

MaryBeth EPC


Mary Beth Wighton of Southampton, ON, was nominated by Nancy Rushford 

In 2012 when Mary Beth Wighton was  just 45 years old she was seated in a Geriatrician office and bluntly told that she had probable frontotemporal dementia and would live possibly for another 5 -8 years. Her licence was immediately revoked and she was advised to go home and get her affairs in order.

In that flash of a moment Mary Beth lost her life as she knew it.

But the actions that Mary Beth has taken since that dreadful day in the doctor’s office are not those of a woman who has disengaged from life.  On the contrary Mary Beth has embraced life, with a fierce determination to live well with dementia and challenge the stigma associated with the disease.

Mary Beth stands out as an “everyday political citizen” because she has taken hold of her everyday experience of dementia and its associated losses and challenges and has turned it into an opportunity to advocate for herself and the rights of all people affected by dementia to live well with dementia.

In this way she has emerged from the shadows and stigma associated with dementia to become an inspiration and role model for others.

In particular, Mary Beth is a writer, blogger, inspirational speaker, founding member (2012) and Chair  of the Ontario Dementia Advisory Group (ODAG).

ODAG represents a group of Ontarians living with dementia from all walks of life whose mandate is to influence policies, practices and people to ensure that people living with dementia are included in decisions that affect their lives.

ODAG has quickly become a leader in the provincial, national and international world of advocacy and dementia.  The group  has served as a witness for the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for its study on dementia in Canadian society;  a member of the Task Force submitting a Memorandum to the UN CRPD as it relates to “Concluding Observations” report from the UN to Canada; a key member of the Ontario Dementia Strategy Plan Advisory and Working Groups and has recently begun working with the Federal government in relation to the Canadian Dementia Strategy development plan, in addition to involvement in several projects educational/awareness raising projects (i.e. dementia friendly communities ) at the local level ( For more about ODAG, visit www.odag.ca)

MaryBeth’s leadership serves to make our democracy stronger because it challenges and inspires Canadians to work alongside (not ‘for’ ) particularly vulnerable and excluded people, and further, to build coherent supports and platforms for co-creation and partnership building that is aligned with a vibrant, resilient and inclusive democratic Canada.

Do you know an #EPCitizen like Mary Beth?
Nominate them today!


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Samara's Everyday Political Citizen celebrates positive political role models and builds a culture of positive politics in Canada. Conducted coast-to-coast-to-coast, the contest aims to recognize the rich diversity of politics and democracy in Canada, crowdsourcing hundreds of nominations from Canadians like you. Read more about Everyday Political Citizen, see more nominations, or submit your own nomination.

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