Two Fridays in a row I attended fund raisers. Last Friday at the Grand Del Mar hotel the Alzheimer's Association held their 30th anniversary and fund raiser. In a gorgeous setting on the hotel grounds we drank champagne and ate well - all food and drink a la "Taste of San Diego" was donated by participating restaurants and wineries from around the area. The food highlight was a delicious bao stuffed with pork belly, silky and delicious. Our friend Fran, who invited me as her guest is a dedicated and regular donor to the cause. We got the red carpet treatment.
Chair person for the event was a beautifully dressed, knock-out blond oozing with enthusiasm and charisma. She told a story about her own grandmother whose Alzheimer's onset was sudden, beginning one day with her daily walk to the supermarket after which she could not find her way home. She declined rapidly and at the end was tied to a bed, raving, violent and dangerous. Not a pretty picture. Passionate about finding cure for this horrible scourge, she cheered everyone on - urging us to loosen our wallets and get involved in the cause.
As the hors d'ouevres were passed and champagne glasses refilled, refilled, refilled, tall thin ageless women cruised the silent auction in their Manolo Blahniks. Tanned men in perfectly tailored blazers or silk sport coats, drank scotch and puffed on cigars. Every once in a while, one of the men would step forward and bid up a Callaway golf bag until it ended up appropriately stratospherically priced. In this company, I felt too short, under dressed, under funded and overwhelmed. As the evening went on these people continued to show their generosity during the rapid fire live auction where elaborate dinners, private wine tastings and luxury travel were sold for thousands and thousands.
Myself, I live in terror of the Alzheimer's scourge. Who doesn't? Every time I grope for a word or lose my train of thought I wonder if I'm going down the tubes. The numbers afflicted grow and grow with the aging of the population and AD is being called the defining disease of baby boomers. One in eight people will have AD by the time they reach 65. If you live to 85 nearly one in two will develop it. Research into diagnosis and treatment is proceeding vigorously but there is currently no way to prevent it, cure it or slow it's progression. Here's an interesting link: Ten signs of Alzheimers Disease and an interesting fact: AD kills more Americans each year than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
By contrast, at the second fund raiser of the week, I helped out at the Frasier Elementary School carnival, a fundraiser for the PTA. With other volunteers, we cooked hot dogs and hamburgers, sold sodas and snack bags of chips. Attendance was good, everybody had a great time. The big item for the auction/raffle was a mountain bike. No Manolos. No fancy clothes. I felt tall enough, rich enough and not whelmed - perhaps a tad over dressed in my chef coat with the colored buttons.