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$2,877 raised at Alzheimer dinner

By Ken Johnston

The 10th Annual Linda Johnston Memorial Alzheimer Dinner to Remember was a huge success again having sold out for sixth straight year!
In the first nine years of the event nearly $21,000 was raised for the Kenora-Rainy River Alzheimer Society. Add another $2,877 to that total after Saturday’s event in Rainy River.
Rossana Tomashowski, Acting Executive Director for the regional Alzheimer Society, attended the event. “We value all of your support (the crowd) and the continued commitment of all the volunteers to this event.”
She also briefly spoke about the event’s namesake, Linda Johnston, who ten years ago volunteered to spearhead a dinner to raise money for the Alz. Society. Four years in Johnston was diagnosed with cancer and later that year lost her battle. The dinner was renamed after that in her honour. Tomashowski asked everyone to raise a glass and toast Linda.
Mary O’Connor the local Alzheimer Service Coordinator, then spoke to the crowd about the many services available to the community from the Alzheimer Society. She emphasized that many of the services are not just for people afflicted with Alzheimer Disease (or Dementia) but those who care for people with it, etc.
O’Connor does learning services, public education, presentations such as “10 warning signs” or “Care giving with siblings.” She is also working on forming a local support group.
O’Connor said there are also tips that people can learn for how to interact with people with dementia. She asked for a volunteer from the crowd to help demonstrate one of them. Norma-Jean Johnston stepped up and O’Connor showed how to steer someone in the direction you would like them to go.
A recent Virtual Dementia Tour was postponed in Rainy River. O’Connor explained that it involves garbing up a person without dementia with goggles, ear muffs, special gloves, etc. and asking them to do simple everyday things like brushing their hair. “It gives you some perspective on how a person with dementia lives every day,” she said.
Another Virtual Dementia Tour has been scheduled for Feb. 26, 2014. It is free and takes 8 minutes. She encouraged people to sign up by calling either her or the Alzheimer Society (toll free 1-800-682-0245).
After a delicious roast beef supper the penny table winners were announced. That was followed by draws for the Chairs for Charity. Winning chairs this year were Sue Armstrong, Alice Bremault, Ruth Wolanicki and Jim Drennan.