Findings from the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association Disease Facts and Figures Annual Report showed that more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia also increased by 17% during the COVID-19 pandemic. While deaths from heart disease have fallen by more than 7% over the past 20 years, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 145% since 2000. One in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined, but there is hope.
The Alzheimer’s Association is leading the way to ending Alzheimer’s disease and all other forms of dementia by accelerating global research and promoting risk reduction and early detection. They work locally and nationally to provide maximum care and support for everyone affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. More than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with the disease.
The Southeast Texas Regional Office of the Alzheimer’s Association will host its 10th Annual Family Portrait Luncheon on Thursday, May 12 at 11:30 a.m. at MCM Eleganté (2355 Interstate 10) in Beaumont. For more than three decades, the Beaumont Alzheimer’s Office has provided support to families who have faced this dreaded disease as well as conducting educational programs, which includes recent work with the Beaumont Police Department, as well as organizing and facilitating support groups to help raise awareness and raise funds for research.
“The Family Portrait Luncheon is very special this year as it’s the 10th annual luncheon and the first we’ve hosted in person since 2019,” said Shanna Briggs, regional director for the Alzheimer’s Association in Southeast Edmonton. Texas. “Lunch gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease in the community while honoring those who have been touched by the disease.”
The luncheon will feature guest speaker Dayna Steele, a carer for her mother, Fran Nicholson, who battled Alzheimer’s disease. Guests who attend the lunch will also receive a free copy of Steele’s book, “Surviving Alzheimer’s with Friends, Facebook, and a Really Big Glass of Wine.”
Individual tickets, which start at $150, can be purchased online at familyportrait.givesmart.com. Sponsorships are also available.
This year’s luncheon co-chairs are Maris Mehaffy and her daughter Haylee Faggard.
“When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I remember asking the question again and again to so many people who had been through this before me: ‘Do they know who you are? ” said Mehaffy. “At the beginning of my journey with my mother’s illness, there were certainly phases that caused so many hilarious outbursts that I was sure she would be kicked out of Pelican Bay, but we just rolled with. As his disease progressed, I realized that the art of communication in the face of this disease involved much more than words.
Mehaffy said one of the quotes that resonated with her was, “They may not remember who we are, but they feel us all the same.”
One of the most rewarding and tender moments she had with her mother in her last days was when she was able to hold her hand, stroke her cheek and thank her again and again for the beautiful blessings she provided.
“I expressed my gratitude for the incredible example she gave me as a strong, courageous and generous person,” Mehaffy said. “So I know the answer to the question about ‘knowing who you are’ and it’s a resounding ‘yes’. It’s just a different language and a reinvention of communication every day.
Faggard added that the word “community” is defined by many things, but one definition that stuck with him after 2021 was “a sense of camaraderie with others, resulting from sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.
“As chairs of the 10th Annual Family Portrait Luncheon, we hope the community will join us in person this year,” Faggard said.
The honorary chairs of the Family Portrait Luncheon are Sheila Umphrey and the late Walter Umphrey.
“It is a privilege to honor Sheila and the late Walter Umphrey,” Briggs said. “Together they built a successful law firm, banks, ranches, car and motorcycle dealerships, nurseries, greenhouses and much more. But more importantly, they built relationships and friends. for life in our community.
Sheila owns The Decorating Depot and has served on numerous boards including Christus-St. Elizabeth Hospital, Lamar State College Port Arthur, Gift of Life and is also active with the Humane Society of Southeast Texas and a longtime supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Walter formed the law firm Provost Umphrey with his partner David Provost, who has served the community for over 50 years. Walter had a heart of gold and ruled with philanthropic gifts that had a huge impact on southeast Texas. His generosity can be seen at Baylor Law School, Lamar University, Lake Sam Rayburn, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
“Sheila and Walter Umphrey’s many philanthropic gifts will survive and benefit millions forever,” Briggs added.
The 10th Annual Family Portrait Butterfly Luncheon was created by participants of the OASIS Respite Ministry program, a partner of the Alzheimer’s Association. The respite program was founded by Dorothy Anne Conn, who advocated the importance of social stimulation for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Funds raised at the Family Portrait Luncheon will help find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset and prevent its development.
“As we embrace this new year with hope, we need your support as we fight for a cause that has touched our families, but also many of our friends and their families,” Briggs said. “No one is immune to its impact.
“We hope you can join us in supporting the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by subscribing, sponsoring or purchasing tickets to the 10th Annual Family Portrait Luncheon. Most importantly, your impactful support will bring us one step closer to realizing the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information, email [email protected] or call (409) 833-1613.
-Chad Cooper, Entertainment Editor