Watching a family member deteriorate, due to an illness, can be an excruciating experience.
But, the toll it takes on a caregiver can be equally debilitating, especially for those who care for an Alzheimer’s patient. It’s to support those dedicated caregivers that the Tempe-based Memory Keepers Foundation is hosting a fundraiser, “A Night to Remember” on Friday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m., at the PERA Club, 1 E. Continental Drive, Tempe 85281.
Tickets are $75 per person and includes a buffet-style dinner, served in a party-like atmosphere, complete with music provided by a DJ. Table sponsorships with eight seats sell for $1,000; at the next level, 10 seats are $2,000 and include free drinks, along with special recognition for the evening. All ticket packages can be purchased on-line at: www.memorykeepersfoundation.org
“The evening also will include entertainment,” said Etherton. “We will have six casino tables, poker, black jack and roulette tables available.
“Each guest will receive a card for $500 worth of chips. With every $500 worth of chips won at the tables, a guest will receive a raffle ticket to win one of three prizes: a purple beach bike, a TV or a golf package. We also have planned a Silent and Live Auction items to bid on.”
Mistakenly, many people believe Alzheimer’s is dementia. It is not–even though in the early stages its victims can exhibit those symptoms. Alzheimer is a terminal brain disease and the number of those with the incurable illness is growing world-wide.
Locally, Tempe resident Etherton started the Memory Keepers Foundation to honor her mother who passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2014 at the age of 81.
“We started Memory Keepers in remembrance of Clarita Swift, who was my mother, and one of many loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s,” said Etherton. “We wanted to be able to see exactly where the money we raised is going and keep it in our community.
“Our first year, we raised money as a team for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk, so all of that went to them. After that we decided we would like to help other caregivers out there that might be as lost as we were with where to turn for help.”
She says all the money raised through Memory Keepers is used to benefit East Valley Families. She is in the process of trying to help with the Dementia Friendly Tempe team.
“They have an awesome program and are teaching people how to become a Dementia Friend and by teaming up together we can provide support to help educate more people,” said Etherton.
Etherton also chose to support the Oakwood Creative care center in Mesa, which specializes in working with dementia or Alzheimer’s patients. So far, Memory Keepers has provided scholarships to two caregivers so that their family members can attend their all-day adult care program.
“We became aware of Oakwood Creative Care, through former Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell, because that is where his wife attended. Harry attended our second event and was our guest speaker for the evening,” said Etherton.
“Besides providing these scholarships, we have also donated craft items, coloring books and a sewing machine for them to use. Last year we provided money for their pumpkin pies for their Thanksgiving lunch and for Christmas we provided money for them to use on food and gifts from Santa.”