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Forget-Me-Not Gala raises funds for Alzheimer's group

At least $20,000 pulled at fourth annual event

At least $20,000 pulled at fourth annual event

February 18, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - About 300 people danced to the sounds of big-band music Saturday night to raise money for Alzheimer's disease programs in Washington County during a fundraiser at Fountain Head Country Club.

The Alzheimer's Association Forget-Me-Not Gala raised at least $20,000, said Mary Ellen Mitchell, development coordinator of the Alzheimer's Association's Greater Maryland Chapter.

Saturday marked the event's fourth year.

Mitchell said the money will fund, in part, educational programs for professionals who treat people with Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible neurological order that includes memory loss and typically inflicts the elderly.

"We already exceeded last year's gala," Mitchell said. "Last year, we raised about $17,000."

Jerry Massey and his wife, Dawn, of Hagerstown said they joined a dance contest that was part of the night's festivities for personal reasons. Dawn's late aunt, Virginia, suffered from Alzheimer's, they said.

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"This is a worthwhile cause," Jerry Massey said. "We want to have fun and make sure we raise as much money as we can."

Dawn Massey said she was glad the fundraiser drew people of all ages.

Everyone from toddlers to senior citizens danced throughout the night. Some men wore zoot suits. Women wore dresses and gowns.

Sharpsburg resident Josh Miller said his aunt, an employee at Somerford Assisted Living and Alzheimer's Care in Hagerstown, talked him into entering the dance contest.

Miller said before the contest that his dancing skills were limited.

"I took one salsa class about four years ago," he said. "This is a new adventure for me ... but fun."

Miller said he and his partner, Jordon Knicley, practiced the waltz, merengue, tango and swing dancing on three or four occasions before Saturday.

"We're here for the cause," he said. "We're hoping they raise a lot of money. What we lack in skill, we'll make up for in style."

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