• James Armstrong

Hudson Hope for Dementia Charity Gala unites communities


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Volunteers, organizers, and the keynote speakers for the Hope For Dementia Gala celebrated a successful evening raising awareness and much needed funds for research.

The Hope for Dementia Charity Gala held at Whitlock Golf and Country Club in Hudson on Friday, September 27 was a sold-out event according to volunteer organizer Mohammed Barkat. The assembled guests included two federal Members of Parliament – Peter Schiefke for Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Emmanuella Lambropoulos for Saint-Laurent. Marc Baaklini, President of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) Political Commission attended on behalf of Soulanges Deputy Marilyne Picard.

It was a fundraiser that brought together supporters and volunteers from the Montreal borough of Ville Saint-Laurent and Hudson.

Political support

“Dementia was something that severely impacted my family several years ago,” Schiefke told the dinner guests. He described how his grandmother, a woman of great strength, slowly began to succumb to the affliction. Schiefke recounted how she had fled Spain and the dictatorial regime of Francisco Franco in 1952 for Canada.

“She was an independent person who lived on her own for more than 20 years after my grandfather’s death,” he said. “The only thing that could stop this incredible woman was this illness called dementia. It not only robbed her of who we were as her family members, it robbed us of her.” Schiefke thanked the organizers, volunteers, and contributors of the event from a personal perspective for raising awareness about the disease and providing funding to find a cure.

“This is obviously a group of people who do this work because they truly care,” said Lambropoulos as she thanked them for their dedication. “They really want to raise awareness about dementia and find a cure.”

Marc Baaklini brought messages of support for the Hope for Dementia organization on behalf of Soulanges Deputy Marilyne Picard. He recounted how an uncle very near and dear to him had been seriously affected by dementia. Baaklini also read a letter of support from Quebec Premier François Legault. The Premier congratulated everyone involved for his or her dedication and contributions to the cause.

Intergenerational program

A team of young volunteers working under the direction of Fati Davoudi made a presentation of their Intergenerational Learning Program that brings the young and the elderly together with the younger generation providing assistance with various forms of technology such as smart phones and other devices.

As the presentations came to a close and the entertainment began, Barkat encouraged everyone to continue spreading the message of hope regarding dementia.

“I am proud to be a Canadian,” he said. “I came to Canada over 46 years ago.” He said very few Canadians are not affected in some way by the effects of dementia. In an informal survey of the room, only two people indicated the disease had not affected their lives.

“You are the lucky ones,” said Barkat.

For further information about the organization, visit their website at www.hopefordementia.org.

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