In the last two years before he died in 2009, Ken Davis didn’t really know who his family was. He could recognize a friendly face, his son Brad recalls, and he knew he was comfortable in some way with the people who came to visit him, but to recognize his wife, sons, daughter or grandchildren was beyond anything but a smile.
That was how Alzheimer’s disease affected his family in the late stages after 12 years of progression and Brad knows millions of other people around the world can relate. It’s for this reason that he and his family started The Great Memories Golf Classic in support of the Alzheimer’s Society of Peel Region.
“We all enjoyed golf and we thought, we’ve got to do something,” Brad says. “We’re all of sound mind and body and this is a terrible disease, so let’s give back and do something with Alzheimer’s to support the cause.”
That was 10 years ago and since then, close to $330,000 has been raised through the Golf Classic in Ken’s honour. On Sept. 17, a day as hot and sweaty as any in July, the 11th incarnation of the tournament teed off at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club outside of Georgetown, surly boosting that number greatly.
Representation was wide at Eagle Ridge, from friends of the Davis family to teams representing homecare providers Home Instead and Nurse Next Door. Senior’s downsizing consultants with Love This House mingled with community team members from the Alzheimer’s Society of Peel, and the organization’s CEO, Chris Rawn, made a point of visiting each team on the course, clearly enjoying the sight of so many community partners coming together in support of the cause.
"It is always humbling to have people within the community reach out to support us in our cause," Chris says. "Being developed from the grassroots, this event reminds people that everyone can play a role in the support and care of people whose lives have been affected by Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia."
Stephen Bungay with The Village of Erin Meadows in Mississauga was happy to show support on behalf of Schlegel Villages. In a long-term care Village that will soon open 277 retirement suites ranging from independent living to full support for people living with memory loss and dementia, the impact of Alzheimer’s disease is well understood, he says.
“So many people and organizations have to come together to support people living with dementia and those who love them,” Stephen says. “It’s great to see that collaboration play out during a fun event in memory of man who clearly impacted a lot of people throughout his life.”
To hear the family describe Ken Davis is to know he was an impactful soul, indeed.
“He passed away leaving those who loved him to continue fighting for a cause that has changed each of our lives and taken a man whom our hearts will never forget,” reads the tribute golfers were offered during the banquet dinner. “As a family affected by Alzheimer’s, it is our hope that we can bring together everyone who has felt the heartache or understands the pain so that they may stand with us in the fight against this devastating disease.”