Supporting Alzheimer’s research and care

The Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter will honor NBC’s Natalie Morales at the “Celebrating Hope” Gala at Greenwich’s Belle Haven Club May 11. The event will be emceed by ESPN’s Sage Steele, and will highlight local leaders who strive to make a difference in the world of dementia.

“Watching my mother-in-law, a loving, active woman, decline to the point where she did not know her husband, her children or grandchildren was heartbreaking,” Morales says. “I am very passionate about raising awareness of this disease and the toll it takes on caregivers both emotionally and financially.” 

This annual gala will help the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter educate and empower those with dementia and their caregivers, while supporting critical research to get closer to a treatment or cure. There are more than 78,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in the Connecticut, and more than 178,000 caregivers.

The 2019 event co-chairs are Eleni Henkel and Mary Jo Riddle, friends from Greenwich who both lost their mothers to this disease.

Henkel’s mother, Sophie, passed away three years ago. “Nothing mattered more to my mom than family and her loved ones,” Henkel says. “To watch her slowly slip away from those she loved and treasured throughout her life was devastating.  

“The Alzheimer’s Association’s work is critical in that it not only supports research but also provides desperately needed resources and advice to the families who are suffering and struggling to care for their loved ones,” Henkel adds. “The ‘Celebrating Hope’ Benefit provides a valuable opportunity to raise much-needed funds and to increase awareness within our wonderful community.”

“My mom, Lillian, suffered for 10 years,” Riddle says. “This organization is near and dear to my heart. Almost everyone we know is impacted by Alzheimer’s.”  

Since its inception, Celebrating Hope has raised more than $1.7 million for dementia care and research, of which Alzheimer’s is one form. The evening will include cocktails, a seated dinner and entertainment by DJ April Larkin. Guests will enjoy several opportunities to bid on unique experiences and luxury items featured in the extensive silent and live auctions, as well as contribute via a paddle raise. The event is a perfect opportunity to wear purple, the Alzheimer’s Association’s signature color.

Event tickets are available for purchase online or via phone at 860-828-2828.  And look for more on Natalie Morales and Sage Steele in WAG’s July “Fascinating Women” issue.

Edited by Georgette Gouveia

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