Paul D Lea


My Story

I am a 69 year old person living with dementia.


I suffered a massive stroke in 2008 and was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2009. Life was a struggle until 2015. I found the Alzheimer Society Toronto. It was the beginning of my advocacy for those living with dementia.


I have done interviews with major networks. I am also on a personal campaign to try and convince young people to quit smoking. I smoked for 52 years and when I quit in 2014, I now have a mild case of COPD.

October of 2016 I joined a group for Youth Dementia Awareness Symposium headed up by Dr. Kristine Newman and her research team. It has been an amazing journey and has exposed me to many opportunities and introduced me to so many people who are trying to find cures and trying to make life more bearable.

I never knew there was such a large number of people dedicating their lives in so many ways to help. I feel so lucky to be part of this group of very talented people.

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CAMH - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health  September 2021

My dementia won’t hold me back. Not Today

Dementia Alliance International January 21, 2019

Paul's Story 


CAMH - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health - September 2021
My dementia won’t hold me back. Not Today.
CTV News - December 3, 2019
Can exercise help ward off dementia
CTV Your Morning - September 16, 2021
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
That Channel
July 2016
Spare a Thought for Dementia
2016 Presentation
CityTV News - January 7, 2016
Powerful Alzheimer's ad campaign goes viral
CTV News - February 26, 2016
'Who makes the decision?':
Patient considers doctor-assisted death


Presentations and Working Groups

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RaymondCho and Paul
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Talking about dementia stigma
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Making a point about smoking
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Answering question on mental health
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Rapid Response Group
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Working Group of Dementia Advocates
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Social Events and Advocacy

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National Dementia Conference

May 2018

Ottawa Parliament Buildings
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Ottawa Airport
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Ottawa Parliament Buildings
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With Health Minister of Canada
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I am thirsty
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Friends wearing Forget Me Not Ties
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Roger Marple and Laura Booi
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Wearing Forget Me Not Ties_edited
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Organizations and Affiliations Involved With

Dementia Alliance International
Alzheimer Society Canada
Alzheimer Society Ontario
Spare a Thought for Dementia

What could prevent suicide?
For CAMH and mental health advocates, it’s advances in research and treatment

By Nadine Yousif - Mental Health Reporter, Fri., Sept. 10, 2021

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Paul Lea, who suffers from dementia due to a stroke he had 10 years ago, had to learn how to basically live life again, and has become an advocate helping others forge their own path as they live with dementia.
There’s no cure yet for dementia, but science may be getting closer

Ten years ago, Paul Lea suffered from a massive stroke that affected a quarter of his brain and drastically altered his life. “My daughter had to teach me how to live again,” Lea said, from relearning how to make an egg salad sandwich, to how to play Solitaire.

The stroke harmed his memory, Lea said, leading to symptoms of dementia. “I can remember things
years ago, decades ago,” but his short-term memory suffered. He also began experiencing stigma: when looking for directions, he was once ridiculed by a stranger for asking twice, as he’d immediately forgotten which way to go.

What followed was a significant period of loneliness, but a growing desire to get better. Lea then  Bele, a Toronto-based advocate for people with dementia, who helped put him in touch with
resources and networks where Lea was able to meet others with similar struggles. He became an
advocate himself, and has lent his expertise and experience to patient advisory committees at CAMH, as well as Baycrest Hospital and Age Well, a Canadian network dedicated to advancing research on the health effects of aging.

Live or Die: The Struggle to Survive by the People of Haiti


When Paul Lea's daughter, Victoria, told him about her planned mission trip with a group of students to Haiti in 2003 to work with orphans, he was not certain how to reactespecially when she surprised him by telling him that he would be joining her. After he got used to the idea, he worked closely with his daughter in preparing supplies for them to take for the Haitians. When the day of their trip finally arrived, Victoria became illand was ultimately too sick to make the trip. Paul decided to go without her and document everything that he experienced to share with her.

In Live or Die, he chronicles, in aching detail, the terrible conditions in which the children live in Haiti. Through his narrative, we come to know the orphan children he met and the Haitians who worked alongside him. To Paul, the real tragedy is that the women and children of Haiti cannot escape the vicious cycle of poverty and terrible living conditions. Even though the Haitian people have suffered unspeakable abuses throughout their countrys history, they have remained a proud people. Despite the fact Haiti is considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, they have never given up their dream of being able to live freely and govern themselves.

In Live and Die, Paul Lea shares his unforgettable experiences and hopes for the people he worked with in Haiti.

Find Kindle version and softcover book on Amazon



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