Just a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving on Friday November 9, Tavia and Clark Hunt opened their home for Aware President Sharon Ballew to reveal the plans for the organization’s annual fundraiser, Celebrate the Moments. In addition to telling the details of the spring event, there was a touching story about one of the co-chair’s personal experience in dealing with her mother’s early onset of Alzheimer’s. Here’s a report from the field:
There was no mistaking where the Aware Affair Announcement Party was in full swing – all you needed as a clue was Aware’s signature purple spotlighting the grand entrance of the home of hosts Tavia and Clark Hunt.
Co-Chairs Ginny Bond Fein and Sarah Bearden Smith welcomed guests as they entered the home full of glorious flower arrangements created by Garden Gate and were treated to hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails created especially for the event by sponsors Katy Trail Vodka featured Katy’s Smokin’ Pie and Roxor’s Blooming Gin & Tonic.
Aware President Sharon Ballew welcomed the crowd and thanked the Hunts for their gracious hospitality. Tavia shared heartfelt remarks about her dear friend, co-chair Sarah, and said how she truly admires Sarah’s courage and strength during the hard road she has traveled since her mother’s diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s and praised her for writing her book about the experience, “Broken Beauty: Piecing Together Lives Shattered by Early-Onset Alzheimer’s.” She said Sarah is one of her heroes and thanked her for her friendship as they walk this road together.
After a brief video, Sharon said Aware had raised $13.5 million since 1989 when the group first started fighting Alzheimer’s disease and read the list of grant recipients, which are the organizations that will benefit from the gala. They are listed below.
Sarah thanked the Hunts for their untiring community service, giving time in service to others and gave grateful thanks to everyone for their support. Ginny gave some insight into her relationship with Sarah, saying their mothers have known each other since they were together as Kilgore College Rangerettes and are dear friends. She thanked this evening’s sponsors and especially recognized Kim and David McDavid, last year’s honorary chairs and honorary chairs emeritus for this year’s gala.
Aware Affair’s Celebrate The Moments —Blooms of Hope— happens on Friday, April 5, at Sixty Five Hundred. The event will begin with a cocktail reception and silent auction followed by a three-course dinner. Guests will also enjoy special feature presentations, a spirited live auction, and dancing with music spanning the decades. A fabulous and fun evening!
Underwriting and Sponsorships: Individual tickets begin at $300. Host couple tickets begin at $1,000. Sponsorships and underwriting begins at $5,000. For tickets and more information please visit the website http://www.awaredallas.org or contact Sharon Walker, 214-369-2549.
Aware Grant Recipients:
- Texas Winds Musical Outreach: Support for the Concerts for Seniors program, which provides two concerts by professional musicians in each of 95 nursing homes and adult day care facilities serving individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias as well as the economically disadvantaged.
- Juliette Fowler Communities: Support for training, implementation, and certification of the “I’m Still Here” program, a national model that provides a person-centered approach to caring for persons with Alzheimer’s through social engagement, new learning experiences, community service, and volunteerism. The program ensures that unique skills and interests are incorporated into each patient’s day so that experiences are fulfilling.
- C. Young: Funds to support a board-certified music therapist who will engage with the Memory Care residents for 30 minutes to one hour a day, every day, seven days a week, while becoming familiar with each resident and selecting music on an individual basis according to their preferences.
- Dallas Museum of Art: Support for teaching honorariums, supplies, and staffing for Meaningful Moments, a program designed to provide participants with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their families or caregivers with ways to engage in art providing a continuing cultural opportunity to everyone regardless of their ability.
- The Senior Source: Support for the Senior Companions program matching trained volunteers with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their families needing assistance with meals, errands, and light housekeeping providing caregivers with respite and/or time to work outside the home.
- Center for Brain Health: Support for the second year of Studying Sleep Architecture in Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease to better understand how sleep impacts cognitive health in aging individuals and what role it may play in cognitive impairment. Results from this three year study could motivate the formulation of better, more multifunctional interventions to slow or halt the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association: Funds to support the hire of the Dallas Chapter’s Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator. This individual will develop a Hispanic Outreach manual and program called “Get the Facts” directly dedicated to meeting the needs of the underserved and often mono-lingual Dallas Hispanic community. The program will use existing partnerships with Telemundo and Univision television stations to help raise awareness and drive attendance to education and support group opportunities.
- Jewish Family Service: Support for the salary of a three-quarter-time licensed Clinical Social Worker to provide in-home mental health counseling, care management, and daily living support services to 50 older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and 20 family members and caregivers allowing patients to remain independent and living in their own home.
- Center for Vital Longevity: Support for the salary of Chris Foster, Ph.D, currently working under Dr. Karen Rodrigue, enabling him to continue the second year of a three-year study of biomarker-based risk factors for healthy aging from data collected by the lab from a sample of 200 adults ranging in age from 20-94 years old who are recruited from the Dallas community.
- Baylor Health Care System: Salary support for the Baylor AT&T Memory Center to provide a trained care and support specialist onsite at the Baylor AT&T Memory Center. By placing this valuable service at the point of care, patients and their families in early diagnosis can receive disease education, caregiver skill training and support groups, elder law and financial planning, and a 24/7 helpline allowing physicians to focus on the medical issues surrounding the disease.
The Myrna D. Schlegel Aware Scholarship Fund Recipients: Emilia Jasper, who is pursuing her Graduate Master Degree in Family Health Nursing at TWU, and Genova Segura, who is working toward her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at TWU.
Media Sponsors: PaperCity, The Park Cities News/The Waters Family, MySweetCharity and Downtown Business News.
* Photo credit: Dana Driensky