Speaker: Toine Heijmans

Who cares for the caregivers?

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Toine Heijmans, the multi award winning columnist, editor and novelist who’s made a credible stamp with his input writing for Volkskrant will take the stage at this year’s TedxAmsterdam. A writer who’s work is heavily infused by the experience he’s gained from writing and reporting in different sectors and mediums. From weekly columns to television scripts and travel journalism to news reporting. Heijmans allegiance lies writing around the topics of immigrants and those seeking asylum. He is also the first Dutch writer to win the French Prix Medicis Etranger Prize for his book Op Zee.

Most recently Toine explores writing closer to home and is more commonly known for his playful approach on his father’s diagnosis of Alzeimers. Whilst most of us would consider such a diagnosis as a battle, Heijmens is able to flip the experience on its head, and introduce the disease as his dad’s new friend. 

 “My father has a new friend. They’ve known each other for a while. Together they sit in my father’s chair, the chair in which no one else can sit. It is not an easy sight.”

Although learning to cope with a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzeimers is probably much harder than the loving, light-hearted approach his writing has, it’s a sure fine example of why we don’t always have to accept bad news in a bad way. Question what light it can bring; memories, drive, the inevitable concept of change. 

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