$6,000 for CNY Alzheimer's Association ... by Lori Ruhlman
The Skaneateles Rotary Club presented a check for $6,000 to Catherine James, chief executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Central New York chapter, at its meeting Thursday, April 6. The check represented funds earned at the club’s March 9 International Women’s Day event at the lodge.
     James thanked the club and the Skaneateles community for joining the effort to combat the disease. “It is the only disease in the top 10 diseases that has no cure … and no way to slow the progression,” she said.  In addition to being devastating to individuals and families, it is devastating to our society, she said. “It cost $259 billion last year.”
     The vision of the Alzheimer’s Association is “A world without Alzheimer's disease,” she said.
     She shared the history of the disease and the push for more research to eliminate it altogether. “We are calling for a cure by 2025,” she said.
     James said that the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel, who was the keynote speaker at the Rotary event on March 9, was humbled by being invited. “She speaks in the Finger Lakes region and also around the country” as someone afflicted with the disease, James said.
     The audience at the International Women’s Day event was riveted as the Hummel told of her personal journey with Alzheimer’s disease. Hummel put a personal face on a disease that 5 million Americans are living with today.
Hummel was 50 and studying for her doctorate when she first experienced symptoms.
Rotarian Amy Tormey said the Skaneateles Rotary Club chose to focus on Alzheimer’s after it became a focus of Rotary International.   “Rotary International has taken on Alzheimer’s right along with polio and malaria,” she said. 
     The Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter is the only organization in our region dedicated to the elimination of Alzheimer's disease and the support of individuals who have been diagnosed with it. The Chapter was founded in August 1982, the result of a local community seeking more information about Alzheimer's disease. In 1983, it became affiliated by the national Alzheimer's Association.