Our volunteers come up with some creative ways to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. This was especially true recently when 11 of our top fundraisers for the East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s strutted down the runway as models for a charity fashion show hosted by Macy’s in Pleasanton.
Supporting the Association everywhere she goes
Pam Montana, advocate, Walker, fundraiser and person living with Alzheimer’s, is a huge supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Wherever she goes, she does her best to share information about the Association and figure out ways others can get involved.
Earlier this summer, as Pam was shopping, she asked a Macy’s
sales associate if the store would help raise awareness and funds for the
Alzheimer’s Association. One thing led to another, and the next thing she knew,
the manager offered her the opportunity to co-host a charity fashion show.
“As I was checking out at the register, they asked me if I
wanted to support another charity,” shared Pam. “I said yes, but followed up by
asking how we can make the Alzheimer’s Association the nonprofit beneficiary
next month? I talk about Walk and the Alzheimer’s Association everywhere I go.”
Turning a fashion show into a fundraiser
After getting this fantastic opportunity, Pam worked with local East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s staff, to turn it into a public fundraiser as well as a year-end party for all 2019 captains, champions and sponsors.
“When Pam told me about this amazing opportunity, I jumped
at the chance to help and we decided to invite other top teams to get involved,”
said Brittany Enos-Harrit, Walk staff partner. “Many of our captains are ultra-competitive
and look for ways to raise more funds year-round, even after the Walk has
passed. We sold tickets, put together a silent auction and in the end, we had a
100-person guest list and raised more than $3,000.”
Thanking our top fundraisers
As an added bonus, Macy’s let the Alzheimer’s Association decide who would get to be the models in the fashion show. The top Walk fundraisers were invited to participate as a way to honor and thank them for their incredible efforts in 2019.
“This was my first time being a model and I had a blast,” said Troy Channing from team Make ALZ a Memory, who’s team raised more than $10,000. “It was fun putting together an outfit we don’t typically wear and then rocking it in front of everyone for a great cause.”
Striking a pose
The morning began with breakfast as our superstars got ready for their modeling debut. Ticket holders began to trickle in for the show and perused the silent auction items. By the time the show started, almost every seat had been filled. Holiday shoppers looked on from afar to see what all the activity was about.
When the show finally started, a cheer went up in the crowd.
Onlookers oohed and awed over the latest styles. Family and friends were
excited to see their loved ones on the runway. It was a festive and joyful
morning, and everyone had a great time. Ticket holders left with smiles, VIPs
left with a swag bag.
Top fundraiser takes to the runway
This year, the East Bay Walk’s top fundraiser was co-captain Jim Voorhees of Team Stacey, the top fundraising team. Jim walks in honor of his daughter Stacey who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 40. Team Stacey raised over $56,000 for the Walk this year.
“When Brittany asked me if I wanted to be in the fashion
show, I thought, ‘sure I can do this,’” said Jim. “I thought it was just the
one outfit, but they tricked me into doing three. It was a lot of fun and it
was encouraging to see all the people lining the runway.”
Being a top team
Jim and his wife Denys aren’t the top team by luck. They host many fundraisers throughout the year. This includes several dine and donate events and a golf tournament. “We’ve done seven or eight dine and donates at different restaurants,” said Jim. “75 to 80 people come on any given day and, depending on the venue, we can get anywhere from 15 to 25 percent donated to Team Stacey.
“We also do a Team Stacey golf tournament; this was our second year doing this event. We had 72 players and 98 silent auction items that were all donated by friends, family and business associates. We raised more than $17,700 at the tournament alone.
“The first time you have a fundraising event you get your
friends and family to come. Then the next time you have that event friends of
friends come, and it just grows. What’s really interesting is when we find out
how many of them also have a connection to Alzheimer’s.”
A huge success
Saturday’s event was a huge success. Everyone was so happy to celebrate a successful Walk season while doing something fun and unique. In the end, Macy’s contributed $2,000 from a local community grant fund. Between the grant, the silent auction, ticket sales and spontaneous donations from onlookers, over $5,000 was raised for the East Bay Walk.
It’s not too late to donate for the 2019 season. Funds raised for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s benefit the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Donate to your nearest Walk at alz.org/walk by December 31, 2019.