IRVINE, CA, May 14, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- At the age of nine, Myles Saunders of Newport Beach became a caregiver to his mother, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at 46 years old. Now 16, Myles struggles to understand and cope with the changes he has seen in his young, once-vibrant mother's life as she progresses through the stages of Alzheimer's. He continues to remain by his mother's side and helps to raise awareness for the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease. Myles was one of several caregivers honored Friday by Alzheimer's Association, Orange County (AAOC).
The 2014 Visionary Women Luncheon, hosted by Alzheimer's Association, Orange County and presented by the Argyros Family Foundation, inspired hope in search of the organization's vision: a world without Alzheimer's. More than 300 supporters celebrated six Orange County caregivers for their dedication to improving the lives of those touched by Alzheimer's disease or related forms of dementia.
Actress Marion Ross, best known as Richie Cunningham's mom on TV's "Happy Days," was the celebrity guest speaker at the signature event of the Visionary Women guild. The event also included an artists' boutique, strolling fashion show, silent auction, al fresco luncheon and awards presentation - all set against the breathtaking and unique backdrop of Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado Canyon.
"In Orange County alone, more than 60,000 individuals voluntarily provide compassion and care to loved ones in need," said Jim McAleer, CEO and President of Alzheimer's Association, Orange County. "Caring for someone with Alzheimer's poses real challenges and caregivers shouldn't have to feel alone in their journey. That's why this event is so vitally important - it is an opportunity to celebrate exemplary individuals and spotlight the tragic reality of Alzheimer's disease."
According to the Alzheimer's Association, 5.4 million Americans live with Alzheimer's, a number expected to triple by 2050. Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death nationally and the fourth-leading cause in Orange County.
In addition to Saunders, who won the Youth Caregiver Award, honorees at the luncheon included:
- Family Caregiver: Dr. Lorraine Kobett of Mission Viejo has been a caregiver to her husband for more than a decade. Now in the late stages of dementia, he requires additional care to supplement Dr. Lorraine's twice daily visits. She assists families experiencing similar journeys by opening her home, providing resources and referrals.
- Professional Caregiver: Adelbert Catapang of Fountain Valley is a caregiver at Golden Coast Senior Living, where he provides compassionate care, and a voice, for his patients. He is a strong advocate for his patients' health and well-being, providing peace of mind for their loved ones while in his care.
- Administrative Professional: Dr. Anwar M. Saeed is an administrator with Alicia Care, a residential home in Laguna Niguel specializing in dementia care for older adults. A dedicated and knowledgeable advocate for the residents in his care, he treats his patients lovingly and compassionately.
- Medical Professional: Sani Hanh Pham, Pharm.D., started Tao Wellness Pharmacy in Fountain Valley with a vision: to address the needs of the Vietnamese elderly population in Orange County with culturally competent and compassionate care. She is an active community leader, dedicated to educating members of her community on Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.
Orange County philanthropist Gloria Zigner of Newport Beach was honored with a special lifetime caregiver award for her continued journalistic and fundraising support of Orange County nonprofits, including AAOC.
"Every caregiver nominated has a heartbreaking story to share," said Jacqueline Dupont, AAOC board member and one of the founders of the Visionary Women Leadership Circle. "Besides the six who were honored today, each and every nominee deserves our gratitude and support. Today's luncheon has special significance for AAOC Visionary Women, which has grown from a small circle of dedicated women to nearly 200. Our goal is to have 1000 Visionary Women and events like this luncheon help us raise awareness and enlist more Visionary Women. Join us!"
Leading the charge is the Visionary Women Leadership Circle - Dupont, Julia Argyros, Jeannie Lawrence, Susan Johnson, Kirsten Mangers, Diane Mondini and Helen Timpe. In addition, Keen Home Care and Silverado Care were generous sponsors of this year's event.
For more information on AAOC's many programs and services, all provided free of charge, please call (949) 955-9000 or visit www.alz.org/oc
About Alzheimer's Association, Orange County
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Since 1982, Alzheimer's Association, Orange County Chapter has been providing programs and services, free of charge, to Orange County residents with Alzheimer's and related disorders, their families, caregivers, and the community. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative illness that weakens the memory and other cognitive and emotional functions. For more information, call the 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900, or visit www.alz.org/oc