The evening commenced with a small crowd collecting into the private dining room of Buster’s Bar & Grill. Bethany Dallenbach graciously welcomed and thanked each attendee for their support in the event. For an entry fee of $10, dinner was provided. A silent auction was held as well, with donations made from local area commercial establishments such as Pub 500, The Coffee Hag, Burrito Wings, Perfectan and Minneopa Golf Club.
Bethany, an auspicious and current MNSU student and National Guard soldier, was motivated to organize this fundraiser for The Alzheimer’s Association soon after losing her grandmother to the illness this past February.
“I received my CNA Certification in high school and began working at my grandmother’s assisted living home when she was first diagnosed,” said Bethany.
Working at Keystone Senior Living enabled Bethany to be closer to her grandmother and soon discovered, with mindfulness, her passion for helping others. This was a catalyst in her decision to enlist in the Army National Guard and subsequently, declaring Nursing as her concentration of study at MNSU.
“Bethany has always been caring and compassionate. She learned this from her grandmother, and she wasn’t ready to let her go. We are proud of her,” said Will Dallenbach, Bethany’s father, when asked what he thought of Bethany’s efforts in the fundraiser. “We forget those with the illness, while they’re in the assisted homes, they are often forgotten by their families.”
Dallenbach spoke of the lives these individuals live, the amazing feats they accomplish and how indiscriminately the memories fade from them.
Rosella Iverna Dallenbach, Bethany’s grandmother, moved into an assisted living home in 2012 at the age of 82, at the time, with light dementia, which later formed into Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a highly developed form of dementia that affects memory, cognizance and behavior. Though it is prevalent in those over the age of 65, the disease is not a normal part of aging. It is a cumbersome brain illness that slowly and eventually reduces brain function and destroys brain cells.
Approximately 5 million Americans are retained with Alzheimer’s. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, and there is currently no cure, says alz.org.
According to alz.org, an estimated 200,000 Americans are recognized as having Early Onset Alzheimer’s, which reveals itself in the ages between 40 and 50. The Alzheimer’s Organization projects that by 2050, 13.8 million Americans will be captured with the disease.
“I’d call the event a success,” said Dan Fleming, an attendee of the “Saving One Memory at a Time” fundraiser. Dan’s father is a current resident with Alzheimer’s at Keystone, the senior living community where Bethany is employed.
When asked what is next, Bethany expressed her commitment in the Alzheimer’s walk this fall. She also foresees another fundraiser next year, perhaps before the start of the fall semester.
The evening was commemorated with The Switch Road Band, a country and rock cover band, who took the stage at 8:30 p.m.
“I’d consider the event a success. With the experience I gained, next year’s event will be memorable,” said Bethany.