Up until recent years, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has often been referred to as an “old person’s disease.”
Another assumption is that with AD, the worst thing that could happen is that you keep forgetting what day it is, or where you put your keys.
This could not be further from the truth.
Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal, progressive and degenerative disease that destroys the brain cells. It’s the most common form of dementia.
But on the night of the Memory Ball, all stigma’s were crushed as a full-house of 20-something’s came out in full support of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Drinks and apps were flowing, along with a silent auction and raffle prizes given away. From the moment guests entered, the feel of parting was felt in an instant.
This was surely a classy affair that had a slight reminiscence of prom. Except with young professionals wearing glamorous frocks and trendy suits.
Even during some the touching speeches, there still seemed to be a lot of positive energy and loud laughter.
But all of this came to a halt when a video, created by a few of the founders who were directly affected by the disease, started playing on the screen. Suddenly the room went silent. Every single person in attendance became engaged in this video. Tears started streaming from many faces, as some watched with a heavy heart.
It was then that everyone realized that this was more than just a party, but an amazing way to help generate funds for a cause that had a deep meaning to the organizers, sponsors, and guests alike.
This was especially true for Z103.5 Radio Personality, Amanda Logan, whose grandmother passed away from the disease.
“People used to think that Alzheimer’s was just an old person disease. Tonight, we are seeing that it affects a lot of younger people as well,” said Logan.
It was evident that the passing of her grandmother had a major impact on Logan’s life. So much so that she attended the event and spoke of her grandmother and how the disease affected her family. She encourages anyone who is suffering with the disease, or living as a caregiver for someone with the illness, to get in contact with the Alzheimer’s Society.
“Reach out to the Alzheimer’s Society. They are there to support you and to guide you. They are amazing and truly something that our community needs,” said Logan.
So why does Memory Ball play such a big part in raising money and awareness?
“We focus on a younger demographic. Traditionally, the Alzheimer’s Society only had donors who were older, well-established people. But we are really trying to get younger people involved and raise the awareness, as well. This disease does not just affect older people. It can affect people as young as 30,” said Katherine Andrikopolous, Co-founder and Director of Marketing and Media Relations.
The message was very clear throughout the night that when it comes to AD: The risk is just as high for young adults as it is for seniors. With the amount of support received in that one night, it’s no wonder that this event is a staple event in Toronto.
“We’ve raised about $120,000 so far to date. Last year was our biggest year with $65,000. We’re hoping to match that again this year,” said Andrikopolous.
All photography provided by: Marcena Lau