Festive fundraiser to support Alzheimer Society of P.E.I.

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Matt Andersen, Matt Mays and Matt Minglewood performing at Evening to Remember at Gingerwood

STANHOPE — Decorations are going up fast and furious at Gingerwood as Danny and Martie Murphy's grand home in Stanhope gets decked out in festive fashion for a successful decade-old annual fundraiser in support of the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island.

Martie Murphy, right, was joined by Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. CEO Corrine Hendricken-Eldershaw and the Society's treasurer Murray Stevenson to give a final festive push to Saturday's fundraiser for the Society at Gingerwood in Stanhope. Matt Anderson, Matt Mays and Matt Minglewood will perform during the 10th annual Evening to Remember.

The Christmas feel to the event will include three merry Matts — Matt Andersen, Matt Mays and Matt Minglewood — all performing at the gala Saturday.

Called an Evening to Remember, the special night will also feature a cocktail reception and dinner. Close to 200 people are expected to attend the $500 per person event.

Generous corporate and business donations on top of ticket sells have made for a major, ongoing fundraiser that initially was held 10 years ago with the thought of being a one-time event.

"A bunch of really talented, amazing people came together for the first year and it was a huge success - over $120,000,'' says Martie Murphy.

"And so we thought that it had legs to go on for such a worthy cause.''

Both Martie and Danny have had loved ones afflicted by Alzheimer's disease, so the cause is very personal in nature.

Martie says while the event is a large undertaking, many people step up to make the evening a success.

"We build the event to have zero costs,'' she adds.

"So we go out to corporate friends for everything from food to our Christmas cheer to the talent to the people that work the event - the Culinary Institute - and everybody comes together in the same spirit which is to raise maximum dollars for the Alzheimer's Society.''

This year's event is expected to bring the total raised over the 10 years to about $700,000. That is much welcome money that is put to productive use, says Corrine Hendricken-Eldershaw, the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of P.E.I.

"The dollars are invaluable to us as a society because the dollars stay on P.E.I. for programs and services and advocacy that we do for individuals living the journey of this disease,'' she says.

"The fundraiser alone supports our coffers by at least one-third of our whole budget for the year. So it's an amazing fundraiser to be able to do one evening and be able to draw that level of fundraising.''

Hendricken-Eldershaw says demand for the Alzheimer Society's services continues to increase. Today, roughly 2,300 Islanders live with dementia.

For information on purchasing tickets to Saturday's Evening to Remember or to inquire about making a donation to the Alzheimer Society of P.E.I., call 628-2257.

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