There are many galas and receptions I attend each year, and I rarely post about them. However, this one in particular means a great deal to me.
The Inaugural “Paint The Night Purple” benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association (Greater East Ohio Chapter) took place this Saturday, April 25 at the Lake Forest Country Club in Hudson. The night was to honor the thousands of people living with Alzheimer’s disease in the region. In the 17 counties served by this chapter, there are approximately 60,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s or another related dementia. The proceeds raised during this gala would go to support local programs, services, and much-needed research.
A view from the Lake Forest Country Club
There was certainly no shortage of purple (the official color of Alzheimer’s Disease) at the event. Vibrant decorations, festive clothing worn by attendees (including me and my violet polka-dotted tie), and even purple-colored drinks helped to reflect the continuing determination given to those who have suffered or are currently living with memory loss. I was joined by my friends Kyla, Jay, and Katie (of Life Is Katetastic). We took many photos to showcase our matching purple duds as we perused the silent auction items (spoiler alert: I won – via a generous monetary donation – a great Trader Joe’s gift basket).
Soon, it was time for dinner accompanied by a presentation of the 2015 Champion Award to Dr. Maryjo Cleveland. After her touching remarks about working with a local family combating this terrible disease, we were all drying our eyes of tears. Portions of her story reminded me of my family’s own experiences, when my grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease, losing his battle in 2005. It reminded me also of the time my family banded together for the Walk To End Alzheimer’s, in which we participated to raise awareness and funds.It was troublesome to learn the facts surrounding this disease. 1 in 3 seniors will die from Alzheimer’s. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. And it is the only cause of death in the “Top 10” that cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured. Yet, comparatively, funding for Alzheimer’s research pales to that of other diseases that affect fewer people and have known cures. It is estimated that in the next 10 years, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s will increase by 40% of what it is today. This is why – more than ever before – it is important to give appropriate attention to Alzheimer’s Disease.When someone loses their memory, they lose a sense of who they are as an individual. Who are we without our memories? What do we do when we don’t have a sense of purpose or an understanding of our own past? How can one live when his or her own brain not only forgets the autobiographical details of life, but also forgets how to function? It’s heart-wrenching to think of the dismal realities that are the answers to these questions. Which is why we must take a stand, to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this frightening disease.