Vermont Business Magazine Close to 400 Chittenden County business and community leaders gathered on Thursday, April 28th, for the Alzheimer’s Association’s 7th Annual Reason to Hope Dinner at the Hilton Burlington. Over the past five years, Dan Feeney, President of North Star Leasing and Co-Owner of Armistead Senior Care, has served as a lead organizer of the Reason to Hope Dinner planning committee and has helped to raise over $500,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. In recognition of his myriad contributions to the health and well-being of the greater Burlington community, the Alzheimer’s Association, Vermont Chapter, presented Dan Feeney with the 2016 Community Leadership and Activist Award.
Hosted by Honorary Co-Chairs, Andrea and Jim Crook, and Event Chair, Sarah Muyskens, the 2016 Reason to Hope Dinner raised over $143,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The evening’s program included videotaped remarks from Vermont Senior Senator Patrick Leahy. “There are over 12,000 Vermonters living with Alzheimer’s” stated Sen. Leahy. “In a state like California, that’s not a big deal. In a state like Vermont, it is a very big deal.”
Dan Feeney and Family, left, and with Tim Holvorson. Alzheimer’s Association photos.
Emceed by Tim Halvorson, along with congratulatory remarks from Linda Norris of Norris Consulting, Mark Redmond of Spectrum Youth & Family Services, and Sarah Muyskens, Community Volunteer and Event Chair, the evening’s tribute ran the gamut from a fun-loving roast of Dan Feeney to heart-warming tribute to his family and his many civic and charitable endeavors. “Many of us…your neighbors, your coworkers and extended family are probably dealing with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s and the slow decline of losing a loved one” wrote Dan Feeney. “Extend a hand to help them traverse this time in their lives for it will make you appreciate your health and well-being.”
Alexandra “Alex” Magiera, a member of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Junior Board, was the evening’s featured Mission Speaker. Alex was only 15 years old when her mother, then age 50, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Speaking with humor and compassion about her mother’s journey with the disease, Alex relayed that as a teenager she wondered “how do I tell my friends that my mom can’t remember my name much less how to complete basic tasks?” Her mother passed away from the disease at the age of 60, a mere 10 years after receiving her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Alex’s goal is to change the perception that Alzheimer’s is not a disease that only impacts “old people” but instead affects the entire family. As a tireless advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association, she is guided by a firm belief that research, education and advocacy will lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s.
The Reason to Hope program concluded with brief, inspirational statements during the closing spotlight ceremony. Alzheimer's Association friends, advocates and volunteers including Amanda Wilson, Louis Godin, Kate Quinn,
Tom Swartwout and Alex Magiera spoke poignantly about their connections to Alzheimer’s disease – as a caregiver, son, granddaughter, spouse and advocate –concluding with a personal pledge of “the end of Alzheimer’s begins with me.”
Net proceeds from the Reason to Hope Dinner fund crucial programs and services to help Vermonters living with dementia, as well as expand advocacy efforts to assure a coordinated effort on both the national and state level and significantly expand cutting-edge research worldwide.
Jessie and Margi Swett of Vermont Trophy & Engraving
The Alzheimer’s Association gratefully acknowledges the generous organizations contributing to the success of the 2016 Reason to Hope including event sponsor, North Star Leasing Company; platinum sponsors Armistead Senior Care and People’s United Bank; gold sponsors the Bergeron Family Foundation, FreePressMedia, National Life Group, plus Liz & Chuck Delauriers, Triad & Hawke; silver sponsors American Flatbread/Zero Gravity, BioTek Instruments, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Burlington Rotary Club, Donahue & Associates and Friends, The Feeney Family, The Norris Family/Aerie Consulting, LLC, Northern Benefits/Nedde Real Estate, Twincraft Skincare, University of Vermont Medical Center – Center on Aging at University of Vermont; plus bronze sponsors The Arbors at Shelburne/Converse Home, Kate & Scott Baldwin, Andrea & Randy Brock, Bullrock-Deutsche-Eco Solar, The Coates Family, The Attorneys at Downs Rachlin Martin, ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Exterus Business Furniture, Friends of Dan Feeney, Home Instead Senior Care/GoodHEALTH Associates, KeyBank, NBT Bank, Northfield Savings Bank/McSoley McCoy & Co., Pomerleau Real Estate, The Residences at Otter Creek, Quarry Hill & Shelburne Bay, The Seaver Family and Wright & Morrisey, Inc. Special thanks are extended to Ben Zakin, Acabay, Inc., Birnn Chocolates, Chappell’s Florist, Claussen’s Florist, Greenhouse & Perennial Farm, E.B. Strong’s Prime Steakhouse, Hilton Burlington, Queen City Printers, Vermont Trophy & Engraving plus Von Bargen’s Jewelry.
About the Alzheimer’s Association The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit www.alz.org or call 800.272.3900.
About Alzheimer’s Disease in Vermont Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and is the only disease in the top 10 in America that cannot be treated, cured or slowed. In Vermont, Alzheimer’s is the fifth-leading cause of death and our state has the fourth-highest Alzheimer’s death rate in America. More than 12,000 Vermonters age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s and by 2025 the number will rise to 17,000, a 41.7% increase in less than 10 years. There are 30,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in Vermont providing 34,000,000 hours of unpaid care valued at $422,000,000.