UPDATE: (WEAU) -- The city-wide thrift say for Alzheimer's raised a record amount. Paula Gibson with Azura Memory Care in Eau Claire said the two-day sale raised $6,754.34. Holiday Vacations matched the donations which amounted to around $13,500 but we're told they decided to round up and make it a total of $14,000. The money will go towards the Alzheimer's Association.
ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) – This weekend, a local non-profit is hoping for a big financial push toward finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
A city-wide thrift sale for Alzheimer’s is underway Friday evening until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at “The Shed”, east of Altoona. The 7th annual sale is extra special with Holiday Vacations matching all of the proceeds which will go to the Alzheimer’s Association to help find a cure.
Organizers said they hope the sale will help save memories for years to come.
“Right now there are about 2000 people in Eau Claire County that has Alzheimer’s disease and it’s growing every day. We need to find a cure as soon as possible,” said Paula Gibson with Azura Memory Care.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 5 million Americans are affected by the disease so chances are you or someone you know are connected to Alzheimer’s.
Tammy Danenberg said she lost her father around two years ago.
“My father passed away from Alzheimer’s, my grandmother had Alzheimer’s so there’s a history of it in our family,” said Danenberg. She’s been volunteering at the thrift sale for the last seven years. “He was only 78 when he passed away and he had a lot of living left to do. But because of Alzheimer’s, it doesn't just affect the memory, eventually other body parts start to shut down. And I would've loved to have had him a lot longer than we did. It was really hard losing him.”
Gibson said it’s the stories she hears that drive her to want to help find a cure.
“I think that's the hardest thing they're not only forgetting you but every part of your life. I was 36 at the time. I had 36 years with my dad and he forgot every moment of it and that breaks my heart because I remember every moment with my dad,” said Gibson. She went onto say she hopes she never loses memories of her own children one day.
Kelly Quicksell who was volunteering at the thrift sale said her grandma had Alzheimer’s.
“I don't think she could ever put the right person to the name, especially with her own ten kids,” said Quicksell who is also interning at Azura Memory Care. Quicksell said she remembers visiting her grandma at the assisted living home as a family event.
Everything sold at the thrift sale is on a donation basis and for every dollar donated, Holiday Vacations will match that. 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association. According to the organization, this year alone the disease is set to cost the nation $203 billion.
“So last year they raised $6500, so we 're hoping if the same happens this year, we'll donate another $6500 dollars to match it for a total of $13,000,” said operations director for Holiday Vacations, Greg Barnes. “I think everyone knows someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia and there are so many families affected by this.”
Following Saturday at noon when the thrift sale ends, Azura Memory Care is asking for volunteers to help clean up in its Unforgettable Volunteer Flash Mob. Organizers said everything that doesn’t sell will be donated to Goodwill.