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Alzheimer's group needs funds

December 12, 2000

Alzheimer's group needs funds



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer


The Western Maryland Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association is starting a major fund-raising campaign after losing a federal grant that helped sustain programs.

The loss of the Maryland Care grant comes at a time when the chapter is seeing a sharp increase in the number of Alzheimer's cases, said Barbara Pilgram, executive director of the Western Maryland Chapter.

The funding loss will jeopardize "no programs in particular but all in general," she said.

The chapter, which serves residents of Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties, provides services that range from a safe return program for wandering Alzheimer's patients to emotional support groups for Alzheimer's care-givers.

The Washington County branch of the Alzheimer's Association is funded mainly by the United Way, the county Gaming Commission and proceeds from the annual Memory Walk.

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The Maryland Care grant provided an average of $60,000 a year in additional funding, enabling the Alzheimer's Association to increase its range of services and expand into more rural areas, Pilgram said.

The federal grant was originally slated to end after three years but Congress extended the grant funding for eight years, she said.

The Western Maryland Chapter is trying to raise funds so full services can continue without a waiting list, Pilgram said.

The agency has established a giving group called the Cornerstone Society to solicit major donations. The Association is also appealing to clubs, businesses and organizations to develop Alzheimer's fund-raisers or designate a portion of proceeds from existing fund-raisers to the cause, Pilgram said.

It's important to keep the people who staff the Alzheimer's Association offices free from the bulk of fund-raising responsibilities so they can stay "devoted to our mission of supporting people whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer's," Pilgram said.

For more information or to make a donation, call the corporate office in Frederick, Md., at 301-696-0315 or the branch office in Hagerstown at 301-797-4892.

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