The Alzheimer’s Association estimates nearly six million Americans are living with the disease, and the projections show that number rising to approximately 14 million over the next 30 years. As the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, the fight against the devastating disease has never been more imperative, and Delaware’s Blend of Seven Winery will host an event on Friday to join that fight.
Partnering with the Delaware Alzheimer’s Association, the winery will hold a fundraiser from 7-9:30 p.m. at its 1400 Stratford Road location. There will be a suggested $5 dollar donation at the door, while an Alzheimer’s Association table will be set up at the door to answer any questions, accept any additional donations, and assist in signing teams up for the annual Delaware Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in August.
There will be door prizes, a silent auction, raffles, and live music from “Three of a Kind,” a self-described mix of classic rock, blues, and country, playing anything from Elvis and Chuck Berry to Zach Brown Band. In addition to the door donations, 15 percent of all sales during the event will benefit the August walk.
As it has — or will — with so many people, Alzheimer’s hits close to home for Steve and Sandi Weddington, owners of the winery, and Don McCaan, a member of “Three of a Kind.” Steve’s mother suffers from severe dementia, and both Sandi and Don’s mothers suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Given their personal experiences with the disease, organizing the event to pick up on the fight to end the disease was an easy decision.
“I knew from a personal perspective how awful (Alzheimer’s) is for the person who suffers with it, and really the whole family,” Sandi Weddington said. “It changes your entire family dynamic. When I started reading some of the statistics, it’s just staggering … It doesn’t just rob you of your mind, it shortens your life.”
“The sad fact of Alzheimer’s is you die very much alone,” McCaan said, referencing the brutal war the disease wages on a person’s mind.
Sandi Weddington said of the ability to relate and connect with McCaan on their experiences, “You can have compassion for people, but until you’ve lived it, you just don’t really understand all the ramifications.”
For a disease that affects every aspect of someone’s life, eliminating the ability to do so many things often taken for granted in daily life, there is a naturally heavy reliance on others throughout the battle. McCaan said his mother is fortunate to be able to afford quality daily care, but acknowledged many who are fighting the disease don’t have such a luxury, relatively speaking.
While he acknowledged his mother certainly needs help, McCaan said he especially wants to help those who might not have the financial ability to get the help they need, and he hopes the money raised ends up benefiting those very people.
In encouraging people to come out and support the cause, as well as raise their own self-awareness, Sandi Weddington said, “As big as this is, at some point, it’s going to affect everyone’s lives … who knows, maybe it will help your loved ones.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.