Cass county resident goes ‘Over the Edge’ in memory of her mother
Eighty-Eight year old Russell Allen rappelled 60 feet off a Texas A&M-Texarkana building Saturday, after raising more than $1,000 for the Doris K. James Memorial Over the Edge fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State Area.
Allen chose to have Jeopardy’s theme song played as he took his plunge for Alzheimer’s.
Bella Fuqua stood fearless, with her arms held out high against the blue sky before descending confidently off the brick university building. At just 13-years-old, Bella was the youngest to abseil ‘Over the Edge’, but, like most participants, she raised money with loved ones in mind.
Fuqua jumped both in memory of her maternal grandfather, who passed away with Alzheimer’s and her paternal grandfather, who is currently battling the disease.
In order to rappel Over the Edge, each participant was required to raise a minimum of $1,000, said Terrie Arnold, executive director for the Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State Area, which covers 22 counties in the Tri-State region, including Cass.
Donation totals from the Tri-State Area Alliance’s first-time Over the Edge event neared $50,000.
In the past, the fundraiser was held as a golf tournament,
“One-hundred percent of the funds raised will stay within the community to provide resources for families affected by this disease,” Arnold said.
Maxie Johnson volunteers at Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State Area’s “Our Place Day Respite Center” at 100 Memory Lane in Texarkana, Texas.
Johnson said he and other volunteers refer to those suffering from the dementia related illness as “friends rather than patients.”
“Our whole purpose is to give respite for caretakers of those with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia related illnesses,” Johnson said. “We act as friends or companions to those affected.”
Johnson said Our Place is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and offers breakfast, lunch and an evening snack.
“It’s important that these caregivers get the rest that they need,” Johnson said.
According to their website, alztristate.org, each day of respite adds 23 days to the life of the caregiver.
“Caregivers can leave their loved ones with us and know they are getting good care,” said Johnson.
Fellow volunteer, Samantha House, nodded in agreement.
“It’s not easy for at-home caregivers,” House said. “That’s where we step in to help give them the rest that they need.”
House and Johnson said they look forward to their friends visiting Our Place respite center--One of whom always comes in singing Hank Locklin’s old country hit, “Geisha Girl”. The volunteers said they play music, games and have an overall enjoyable visit with their ailing friends.
“Their world is my escape from the real world,” House said, lovingly.
The alliance not only offers respite care at Our Place, but support groups for loved ones who are impacted by the disease. To learn more about upcoming events, volunteering, resources offered, or how your family might benefit, visit the aforementioned Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State Area website.
“We know that with support and resources we can enhance the lives of caregivers, family members, and ultimately those with a diagnosis,” Arnold said.