Saturday September 25, 2010

Community News

Life After Coffee

Alzheimer Coffee Break fundraiser drips with success

Craig Hill/Voice photos


affeine is loaded with anti-oxidants and therefore its good for the brain. Just ask anyone familiar with dementia and they'll tell you. After all, there are enough people who have knowledge of the brain-wasting disease first hand. According to the Alzheimer Society of BC, 1-in-3 people know of someone who has dementia.                                   


For people whose blood type is coffee, the Chilliwack branch of the Society poured, stirred and slurped their way to over $1400 last Monday during their Coffee Break fundraiser. Not bad for half a day's sipping.


The icing on the coffee cake came when Support & Education Coordinator, Jillian Armit, accepted a cheque from Fraser Health's Home Health group for $300.

Armit couldn't have been happier telling the Voice this year the Home Health case managers pooled donations and decided to make the local Alzheimer chapter the beneficiary of their largesse.

"We are the main organization that supports caregivers for people with dementia," she said. "All the money raised will go towards providing support and education for families facing the challenges of a permanent dementia in our area."

Volunteers are the Society's mainstay. They man the sails and keep the ship afloat.

Armit says the "volunteers do everything" and her Chilliwack branch needs more people and says there is no age limit for volunteering.

"Volunteering helps keep your brain sharp, and the volunteers that we have, have hearts of gold and they are the cream of the crop, as far as I'm concerned, in the community because they're giving of their time and energy," said Armit.


Alzheimer top fundraiser, Grace Furphy, at Coffee Break.

Each year the Society picks an honouree. "We take someone who has been involved in the community and we honour them and put their picture on our brochures and that sort of thing," said Armit.

"Amazing Grace" Furphy's husband Wally was a local Alzheimer Honouree in the past but sadly, he passed away from the disease just over two-years-ago. Each year that she raises money, she ups the ante with her penny drives and now coin drives.

"The first year I raised $2400 and last year I did $2600 and my goal this year is $3000," said Furphy adding that she worked at the mall last year raising money morning, noon and night.

Whoever said retirement is one big coffee break never met Furphy who is always on the move with the Society and loves it.

"I did a week in Abbotsford at the Seven Oaks and then another week at Cottonwood Mall," she said.

Meanwhile watch for her flea market table November 7th at the Senior's Hall by Twin Rinks. The proceeds of the sale will be added to her fundraising effort.

On the day of the Walk For Memories in January, Furphy said she'll be running the silent auction, so from now until then, she'll be gathering items for it.

"They helped me so much when my husband had Alzheimer's and I just want to give something back because they were always there for me anytime that I had problems that I didn't understand then I'd call them up," she said adding with a laugh that Armit is "she's my gal."

Last January, the 2009 Investor's Group Walk for Memories raised $20,000 and Armit says this year they'd like to surpass that total.

"We're aiming for $25,000 this year," she said. "It's indoors and people can walk 5 feet or 5 miles or not at all."

The group's Facebook says that "British Columbians will come together to honour and remember the special people in their lives who are touched by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, while raising vital funds for the Alzheimer Society of B.C."

This year the Walk for Memories happens Sunday afternoon, January 30, 2011 from 1-4pm. Everyone is invited to the attend the event. Last year, one of the highlights was Mayor Sharon Gaetz's rendition of the national anthem.

If you'd like to donate items for the silent auction or volunteer for the Walk for Memories and for more general information contact the Alzheimer Resource Centre, 9291 Corbould Street, Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 4A6

604-702-4603 or e-mail Jillian here or visit their website here.

See the photo gallery below.

Copyright (c) 2010 The Valley Voice


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