On April 8 the Alzheimer’s Association is hosting its 11th Annual Memory Ball at Baltimore’s Marriott Waterfront. The Memory Ball takes the form of a “Dancing with the Stars” style competition as Baltimore locals from various walks of life compete against each other after months of practice with trained professionals to raise the most money for Alzheimer’s research. The Memory Ball is a black tie affair and each vote serves as a dollar donation to the Alzheimer’s Associations cause.
Alzheimer’s is a widespread disease that affects many people across the globe, an estimated 5.5 million people in America have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and many of the ten participants, including Dr. Mary Teddy Wray, have a personal connection to the cause.
Wray is a dentist located in Harford County, Md. who worked her way through dental school as a caregiver for a patient that was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“I had to support myself through school, I was an immigrant, I was here by myself and I didn’t have anybody…the only job I could find was being a caretaker for this woman (Lucy Garfield) who had Alzheimer’s disease. I took care of her from 6 in the evening to 6 in the morning. I fed her, bathed her and put her to bed for four years,” Wray told the AFRO.
During her time as Mrs. Garfield’s caretaker Wray said she saw the deleterious effects of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand, and it inspired her to make a difference.
“I want to participate and dance because I know how dreadful this disease is, I saw the changes in her from the year I started taking care of her to four years later when I finished dental school and I saw the toll it took on her,” she said.
By March 21, Wray had raised $18,589 in funds and is close to achieving her goal of $27,000.
Rachael Campbell, vice president of administrative services at Correct RX Pharmacy, and Derek Valcourt, CEO of Creative Spot Productions are this year’s Memory Ball co-chairs. “I have attended Memory Ball since 2005 and served on the steering committee in 2016: what an honor to now assist as co-chair,” Campbell said in an interview with Patch.com. “These are exciting times for the Alzheimer’s Association.”
Tickets for this event can be purchased at act.alz.org and all proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the Alzheimer’s Association and advancing efforts to find a cure.