Top walkers hit the runway to raise funds

Our volunteers come up with some creative ways to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. This was especially true recently when 11 of our top fundraisers for the East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s strutted down the runway as models for a charity fashion show hosted by Macy’s in Pleasanton.

Supporting the Association everywhere she goes
Pam Montana, advocate, Walker, fundraiser and person living with Alzheimer’s, is a huge supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Wherever she goes, Pam does her best to share information about the Association and figure out ways others can get involved.

Earlier this summer as Pam was shopping at Macy’s, a sales associate asked if she would like to support another nonprofit as part of a store giving campaign.   “I said yes, but followed up by asking how we can make the Alzheimer’s Association the nonprofit beneficiary next month,” shared Pam. “I talk about Walk and the Alzheimer’s Association everywhere I go.”

One thing led to another, and the next thing she knew, the manager offered Pam the opportunity to co-host a charity fashion show.

Brittany Enos-Harrit, Ginny Roth (East Bay Walk Chair) and Macy’s staff

Turning a fashion show into a fundraiser
Pam worked with local East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s staff, to turn the fashion show into a public fundraiser as well as a year-end party for all 2019 Walk captains, champions and sponsors.

“When Pam told me about this amazing opportunity, I jumped at the chance to help and we decided to invite other top teams to get involved,” said Brittany Enos-Harrit, Walk staff partner. “Many of our captains are ultra-competitive and look for ways to raise more funds year-round, even after the Walk has passed. We sold tickets, put together a silent auction and in the end, we had a 100-person guest list and raised more than $3,000.”

Troy Channing

Thanking our top fundraisers
As an added bonus, Macy’s let the Alzheimer’s Association decide who would get to be the models in the fashion show. The top Walk fundraisers were invited to participate as a way to honor and thank them for their incredible efforts in 2019.

“This was my first time being a model and I had a blast,” said Troy Channing from team Make ALZ a Memory, whose team raised more than $10,000. “It was fun putting together an outfit we don’t typically wear and then rocking it in front of everyone for a great cause.”

Striking a pose
The morning began with breakfast as our superstars got ready for their modeling debut. Ticket holders began to trickle in for the show and perused the silent auction items. By the time the show started, almost every seat had been filled. Holiday shoppers looked on from afar to see what all the activity was about.

Renee Gallagher

When the show finally started, a cheer went up in the crowd. Onlookers oohed and awed over the latest styles. Family and friends were excited to see their loved ones on the runway. It was a festive and joyful morning. Ticket holders left with smiles, VIPs left with a swag bag.

Top fundraiser takes to the runway
This year, the East Bay Walk’s top fundraiser was co-captain Jim Voorhees of Team Stacey, the top fundraising team. Jim walks in honor of his daughter Stacey who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 40. Team Stacey raised over $56,000 for the Walk this year.

“When Brittany asked me if I wanted to be in the fashion show, I thought, ‘sure I can do this,’” said Jim. “I thought it was just the one outfit, but they tricked me into doing three. It was a lot of fun and it was encouraging to see all the people lining the runway.”

Jim Voorhees

Being a top team
Jim and his wife Denys aren’t the top team by luck. They host many fundraisers throughout the year. This includes several dine and donate events and a golf tournament. “We’ve done seven or eight dine and donates at different restaurants,” said Jim. “75 to 80 people come on any given day and, depending on the venue, we can get anywhere from 15 to 25 percent donated to Team Stacey.

“We also do a Team Stacey golf tournament; this was our second year doing this event. We had 72 players and 98 silent auction items that were all donated by friends, family and business associates. We raised more than $17,700 at the tournament alone.

“The first time you have a fundraising event you get your friends and family to come. Then the next time you have that event friends of friends come, and it just grows. What’s really interesting is when we find out how many of them also have a connection to Alzheimer’s.”

Cheryl Gross

A huge success
Saturday’s event was a huge success. Everyone was so happy to celebrate a successful Walk season while doing something fun and unique. In the end, Macy’s contributed $2,000 from a local community grant fund. Between the grant, the silent auction, ticket sales and spontaneous donations from onlookers, over $5,000 was raised for the East Bay Walk.

It’s not too late to donate for the 2019 season. Funds raised for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s benefit the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Donate to your nearest Walk at alz.org/walk by December 31, 2019.