(John & Frances Smersh @ Click’s 11th anniversary celebration. Photo by Eliott Peacock)
The proprietors of Click! Design That Fits, longtime independent West Seattle business (and longtime WSB sponsor), have just gone public with some personal news, and friends and family have at the same time come up with a way to support them.
Here’s what’s happening: Frances Smersh, who has run Click! with husband John Smersh for 11 years, has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Frances is only 48.
As the e-mail to Click!’s mailing list today – headed “Frances, John, and Alzheimer’s” – explains, “While the timeline is uncertain, Early Onset Alzheimer’s can move quickly, and what we do know is that the next twelve months will be the best Frances and John can expect to have together. Essentially, this next year will be their best year.” That’s what Frances’s doctor told them this fall, a few months after the initial diagnosis. Alzheimer’s remains an incurable disease, no matter what the patient’s age.
The store will stay in business. But Frances and John hope to spend some extra time together during that “best year.” John says, “I intend to continue working, but hopefully in a capacity that allows me to keep myself healthy and able to be her primary caregiver. Frances has already become less involved in the business, meaning I’ve had to pick up more, when I really feel like we should be handing responsibility off to a manager so that we can have time together, while it lasts. I know there will be a time when I don’t have her any more …”
So, as the announcement adds, “Friends and family have started a fundraiser to raise money to help with medical costs and to allow them to step away from Click! for a while, enjoy their life, and figure out what’s next.” That page is on youcaring.com.
Frances is an artist whose work has long been part of the Click! offerings, including jewelry, and she also paints – she is this month’s highlighted artist and will be showing and selling her newest work during tomorrow night’s West Seattle Art Walk, 6-9 pm. The monthly Art Walk has always been a meaningful event for Click! – John has long led the committee that organizes it, part of their community involvement beyond the all-encompassing work of running an independent local business that supports local artists and other creators.
P.S. If you are interested in helping, but not online, please send postal mail to John at the store, 4540 California SW, Seattle 98116.