Saturday, May 18, 2024

A Walk to Remember

By Kelly Gregorio

Primary caregivers understand all too well the concern, frustration and stresses that occur when a member of their family suffers from a memory disorder. Thankfully, caregivers in South Florida can find relief through the professionals at the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center at Florida Atlantic University.

The center, part of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing on the Boca campus, addresses a range of memory issues, from conducting evaluations to providing support through activities and programs. The center helps participants learn to cope by educating them on relevant issues; most importantly, the day center gives caretakers a chance to re-charge.

This Sunday, several hundred supporters of the center will put their gym shoes on and head to Town Center at Boca Raton for the sixth annual “Keep Memories Alive” Walk—a one-mile trek through the mall that starts at 9 a.m. Funds raised from the walk will support the center in its efforts to provide a sanctuary for those suffering from memory disorders.

In the past, the event had a black-tie theme, filled with top hats, tiaras and the occasional feathered boa, but coordinators decided that it was time for a change. This year’s theme—“Steppin’ to the Oldies: Bobby Socks Optional”—is a nod to local business man Bobby Campbell, presenting sponsor of the event. Key supporters of the event also include Christine E. Lynn (honorary ambassador) and Elaine J. Wood (honorary chair). Jukebox decor and music played by Magic 102.7 will enhance the iconic oldies atmosphere.

“More than a hundred persons a week attend support group meetings,” says Kathleen Valentine, director of the center. “Though the center is one of 15 designated memory disorder clinics, [it is] one of two that receives no funds from the state. [The Memory and Wellness Center] is entirely self sustained through self pay and philanthropy.”

“The goal this year is to raise $350,000,” says Morgan Green, a board member of the Caring Hearts Auxiliary and co-chair of the walk. Proceeds will provide scholarships to day-center participants as well as support caregiver programs.

Local activists and philanthropists Louis and Anne Green, who founded the center 10 years ago, were never personally affected by a memory disorder; they simply saw a need for a center like this in the community and generously provided it. The idea to do a sponsored fundraising walk for the center came from a volunteer who mentioned it in passing.

To say that the concept has caught on is an understatement. What once started as an event consisting of 65 walkers, last year grew to 400, leaving expectations high for Sunday’s event. With 90 percent of the fundraiser’s proceeds going to the center, the walk is making great strides for those with memory disorders—and those who care for them.

 

Sixth Annual “Keep Memories Alive” Walk

Date: Sunday, Nov. 6, 9 a.m.

Where: Town Center at Boca Raton (north entrance)

What: A walk to benefit the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at FAU

Tickets: Pre-registration $30; at-the-door $40

Contact: Lynda Williams at 561/297-4066 or e-mail Lwill142@fau.edu

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