Annual chefs’ dinner raises $6,500

Duane Hicks

The Alzheimer Society of Kenora-Rainy River District’s sixth-annual “Chefs’ Charitable Dinner and Auction” was a success this past Sunday at the Adventure Inn here, raising $6,500 for the further promotion of Alzheimer awareness and education.
Executive director Lynn Moffatt said more than 70 people attended the fundraiser, which she considered a success.
“We are grateful for all the community support of those who attended the dinner, volunteers and local business and chefs that donated towards the menu and prize auctions,” she remarked.
“The event was a huge success with proceeds of approximately $6,500, which allows us to raise awareness and provide support to families and make a real difference,” Moffatt added.
She noted Alzheimer’s disease is “extremely heartbreaking” for those diagnosed with it, as well as their loved ones, and the local Alzheimer Society is “working very hard to offer increase support and educational services to support families and the growing number of Alzheimer’s patients.”
The menu for the sit-down dinner was prepared by local chefs and donated by local businesses.
It featured starters, like a cheese trey donated by Canada Safeway, whitefish cakes with wild rice salad prepare by Seven Generations Education Institute the Culinary Arts Program students under the guidance of chef Ryan Parisien, Oriental Thai salad (Lee Garden), and penne pasta with red sauce (Boston Pizza).
This was followed up by the entrée—date-stuffed pork tenderloin (donated by Cloverleaf and prepared by Seven Generations), baked rosemary potatoes (Cater 2 U), carrot and green bean medley (La Flambée), and dinner rolls (The Place and Canada Safeway).
A selection of pies, cheesecakes, cookies, and cakes were served up courtesy of the Circle D Family Restaurant, Emo Inn, Iris Gogosha, Subway Sandwiches and Salads, and Rainycrest.
Coffee and tea was provided by Tim Hortons, with A&W donating the cream and sugar, and CC Complex/Chester Fried Chicken offering assorted juices.
The evening also was a chance to showcase the Alzheimer Society, what it does, and the impact of the disease on an increasing number of people.
Faye Flatt, who sits on the local Alzheimer Society’s board of directors, recalled she lost her father to the disease two years ago.
She noted the disease is not about putting ice cream in the pantry or forgetting your keys, although it may start out that way.
“It is forgetting the people who you love and who love you, and eventually forgetting how to eat, sleep, or even breathe,” Flatt explained.
“I lost my father two years ago, but he lost himself a long time before that.”
When her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Flatt said she learned about the disease not only to cope but to help educate others. She became a member of the Alzheimer Society board for the Kenora-Rainy River districts.
Flatt said the organization underwent significant changes last year when former executive director Margaret Schonewille, along with her husband and Alzheimer’s disease educator, Dick Schonewille, moved to Steinbach, Man.
As such, the board had to come together to keep things going as it searched for someone to “take the reins.”
They were fortunate to find Moffatt, who joined the team in May.
“In the short time she’s been with us, she’s left us no doubt she’s the right fit,” lauded Flatt.
She conceded the past year has been a challenging one for both service delivery and fundraising events. While the chefs’ dinner came back this year, the public may have noticed that a couple of annual events, such as the “Penny for Your Thoughts” weigh-in and fundraiser book sale, did not take place here.
“We will be having other initiatives, but for the time being those will be put aside,” noted Flatt.
Moffatt, meanwhile, spoke on the role of the Alzheimer Society, explaining it’s a national charitable organization dedicated to helping those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and their families.
It provides educational programs and information for people with Alzheimer’s disease, their families, caregivers, and members of health-care teams.
“There’s lots of new and exciting developments taking place at the Alzheimer Society,” enthused Moffatt. “We’re very excited to be offering our ‘First Link’ program throughout the entire Kenora and Rainy River district.
“The ‘First Link’ program is a partnership between health organizations, where we receive referrals as soon as somebody is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” she explained.
Moffatt added they also expect to start support groups in Fort Frances and Emo, which will meet on a monthly basis.
She also will bring a “virtual dementia” tour through Fort Frances later this year.
Through the use of goggles, earphones, and other devices to alter one’s senses, the program provides an opportunity for the public to experience “what it feels like to walk in the shoes of somebody that’s afflicted with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia,” said Moffatt.
“I am sure many of you here are familiar with Alzheimer’s and likely know someone who has been affected by the disease,” she remarked. “But what you may not know is that Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh-leading cause of death in Canada.
“Further, someone in Canada will develop Alzheimer’s disease every five minutes.
“If nothing changes by 2038, that number will grow to every two minutes,” she warned.
Moffatt said the Alzheimer Society appreciates the support it receives, and encourages everyone to sign up, become a member, and “help us have a stronger voice for our organization.”
Steve Sinclair, who was emcee for the evening, sharing a couple of jokes, as well as an anecdote about a recent episode of one of his favourite TV show, “NCIS,” which featured Bob Newhart as a doctor who’s developed Alzheimer’s disease.
The episode got him thinking about the impact of the disease.
“One of the hardest things you can do is forget,” said Sinclair. “All we have is our memories and the people around us that we love, and to start losing that kind of stuff is devastating.
“I can’t understand it.
“My grandmother . . . had dementia when she passed away,” he recalled. “I was convinced for years it was my parents who had it and not my grandmother because every time I saw my grandmother, she knew exactly who I was and knew everything.
“I had a hard time believing she really had this disease.
“But to see someone that you love go from being a respected elder to being like a child is really hard,” added Sinclair.
Emceeing as a volunteer, Sinclair said he has had no previous affiliation with the Alzheimer Society but sees it as “a really worthwhile and good investment of our money, as we have loved ones that are suffering from this.”
After-dinner musical entertainment was provided by Katelyn Shortreed (vocals) and Jeff Gustafson (guitar).
Being a fundraiser, there also was a silent auction, with items donated by area businesses, as well as a “surprise draw” where people could buy a “mystery card” for $20.
Each card was numbered and corresponded to a prize, but the buyer did not know which prize their card matched until it was announced.
More than 70 area businesses donated to the event and/or supported it in one way or another.