Moose Lodge No. 2029 holds fundraiser dinner for Alzheimer’s Association

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press

The Moose Lodge No. 2029 of Copperas Cove held a low country shrimp boil and pork steak dinner to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association Saturday evening. 
The dinner was the idea of Moose Lodge member Frank Garrett, who has raised more than $9,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association this year. He hopes to raise even more after Saturday’s dinner and with the upcoming Ida Garrett Memorial Golf Tournament scheduled in September at Mills Creek Golf Course in Salado.
Garrett’s wife, Ida, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than 10 years ago and was placed into a memory care facility in Belton four years ago. She passed away in December 2020 after her long battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia. 
“I want to see a cure for that,” Garrett said. “I tell people when I do a fundraiser, I say, ‘Don’t do it for me, don’t do it for my wife. Do it for you and your kids.’  It’s a devastating disease.”
Joseph Wilgeroth, president of the Moose Lodge in Copperas Cove, said that the Moose Lodge has and will continue to hold dinners like the one on Saturday that help raise funds for important causes. 
He said that when Garrett approached and asked about a fundraising dinner, the Lodge was happy to help. 
“His heart and soul is into it. His wife passed away from it. He’s very into it, so we support what our members support,” Wilgeroth said. 
The Moose Lodge is also sponsoring three holes at the golf tournament in September, Wilgeroth said. 
“With COVID and everything happened there was a dip in donations because things weren’t happening, so that was one of the main reasons why Frank had brought it to us and said, ‘Hey, this is something that is needed,’” Wilgeroth said. “It’s something that affects a lot of people, that everybody knows. Not only Frank. We have another member. His wife passed away from Alzheimer’s also. So it’s not just Frank, it’s people that know people that know people.”
Wilgeroth said that the Lodge holds similar fundraising dinners for cancer awareness. The purpose is to help raise money to find a cure. 
“All disease are horrible, but one that takes your memory, and it can take it early on- I never want to have my mom say to me, ‘Who are you?’” Wilgeroth said. “That is really significant. Illness is one thing, but memory, you know, that just takes everything away quickly.”
Commonly thought to only happen to the elderly and sometimes referred to as ‘Old-Timer’s Disease’, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is a neurocognitive disorder. Dementia refers to the symptoms of memory loss and loss of other cognitive functions that can interfere with a person’s daily life. 
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that starts out with mild memory loss and can lead to loss of ability to carry on a conversation or awareness of surroundings and environment and even loss of the ability to swallow. 
An estimated 6.2 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2021, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. An estimated 72 percent of these are ages 75 and older. Almost two-thirds of the Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. 
One in three seniors dies as a result of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. 
Garrett also pointed out that some people get diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia at a young age. This is called Early Onset or Younger Onset Alzheimer’s. 
“I always tell people if you think you’re immune to it until you get in your 50s, you’re wrong,” Garrett said. “You’d better think again. Talk to your doctor. Even though you don’t think you got it, talk to your doctor. Take the tests. Find out if there’s anything in your history that might bring it on for you, and if there is, start today taking precautions against it.”
There is no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but scientists have come up ways to slow down the disease progression plus medications and non-drug options that may help treat symptoms. 
Garrett and his wife were married for 61 years. Garrett, 89, said that he will continue to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association while he can. He said he has wondered if he should stop or slow down, but he keeps getting signs from God to continue on. He mentioned that he previously prayed about whether to keep fundraising and asked for God to tell him what to do. The next day, someone walked up to him and gave him a donation for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Garrett said he was only able to raise less than $4,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, but in 2019, he raised more than $8,000. He anticipates raising more than $12,000 this year.  
Elks Lodge #138 in Temple will be holding the Ida Garrett Memorial Golf Tournament at the Mills Creek Golf Course in Salado on Sept. 11. 
That same day, Garrett said he will be walking with his daughter and her team, Ida’s Crusaders, at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Belton’s Liberty Park at 600 Veteran’s Way Dr. They will be walking in honor of Ida on Saturday, Sept. 11. The link to their team’s page, where people can donate, is: https://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2021/TX-CapitalofTexas?team_id=670883&pg...
The walk starts at 9 a.m. For more information on the walk or for more information on Alzheimer’s Disease, visit https://www.alz.org/texascapital. 

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