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Rock to Remember

Virginia McAlhany displays one of the butterflies she crocheted to sell at Longwood Plantation's “Rock to Remember." The event raises money and awareness for the S.C. Alzheimer's Association.

Residents of Magnolia Place at Longwood Plantation enjoyed a day of fellowship and fun to support the South Carolina Alzheimer’s Association.

“Anything we can do to raise awareness and … help raise money to find a cure, that’s our goal,” Longwood Plantation Administrator Jerri Johnson-Still said.

“It’s a big part of what we do here with Magnolia Place. We love our residents, and anything we can do to help, we want to,” she said.

Magnolia Place, a special-care residence designed exclusively for Alzheimer’s and memory-impaired individuals, held its seventh “Rock to Remember” fundraiser on Monday.

Two official chairs were rocked in all day, with other rocking chairs provided for supporters. People could sponsor a rocker, make a donation or come rock with the group.

The event included music, refreshments, a silent auction and crafts that some residents made to sell to support the effort.

Longwood Plantation residents Virginia McAlhany and Catherine Bradford were among those who attended the event. Bradford collected donations, while McAlhany had several items that she crocheted and sold to support the cause.

“I love crocheting, and I don’t have anything else to do. So I just sit and crochet about all day. I just enjoy every stitch I make,” McAlhany said.

But she also has another reason.

“It’s a worthy cause. This is the second year for me. I just donated all I could. It costs me very little to donate those things. I know some people that have Alzheimer’s, and I know it’s a worthy cause. And if I can help to find a cure for it, I’m willing to help,” McAlhany said.

The funds go toward research, respite care and education statewide, including the local region.

Since 2013, the event has raised more than $29,000.

Carol Livingston, activities director at Longwood Plantation, organized the first Rock to Remember and is pleased at how it has grown.

“It’s just been a nice effort for the residents to do. They’re people that gave all their lives, and they’re still contributing and giving. It’s a wonderful cause,” Livingston said.

She also has a personal reason for organizing the fundraiser.

“My mother had dementia. As a matter of fact, my mother actually lived in the Magnolia building for a couple of years. When you have a loved one that goes through it, you take the journey with them and it becomes a passion. “The residents here are interested in doing what they can to help, too,” Livingston said.

She said she is also thankful for the support of families, friends and the community at large.

Alexis Watts, director of development for the S.C. Alzheimer’s Association, said, “We are so thankful that Longwood Plantation plans Rock to Remember each year to raise funds and awareness for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”

“The Alzheimer’s Association sees the havoc that can be wreaked by this disease not just on those diagnosed, but their caregivers and families as well. This community is so compassionate and helps support our caring for these families as they face Alzheimer’s head on,” she said.

The Alzheimer’s Association of South Carolina reports that more than 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Also, more than 16 million family members and friends provide care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

“In South Carolina alone, there are more than 92,000 people living with the disease and 320,000 caregivers. The South Carolina Chapter provides dementia education, training and support in Orangeburg and across our state,” Watts said.

Early state dementia support groups, a caregiver respite voucher program and a 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900 are among the state chapter’s offerings.

“A portion of all funds raised also supports research efforts to determine the cause of and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. We could not do any of this without the funds raised through events like Rock to Remember,” Watts said.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, Oct. 26, in Columbia. Watts said the Rock to Remember group from Longwood Plantation will be honored as one of the walk’s top teams.

Walk registration is free and can be made at act.alz.org/columbiawalk.

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Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD.

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