10/18/06 — Alzheimer's Walk set for Saturday

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Alzheimer's Walk set for Saturday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 18, 2006 1:52 PM

Laura Gaddis watched her mother suffer with Alzheimer's for 12 years. One morning in the latter stages of her mother's illness, Ms. Gaddis awoke with a plan to use the public to create funds for research of the disease.

In 1999, she opened Guardian Angel Thrift Donation Station, a non-profit store with the sales contributed to Alzheimer's research.

The small 1,400-square-foot store in Fuquay-Varina expanded in four years to a 26,000- square-foot location, with a second opened in Charlotte last year.

"We receive donations in the back door, sell them out of the front, and 100 percent of our proceeds go to research," she explained.

The vision has proved beneficial for the cause, she said. Thanks to public support, Ms. Gaddis said in the last three years, $645,000 has gone to support research efforts in North Carolina.

On Saturday, representatives from her store will be in Goldsboro as part of the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk.

"We'll bring a receiving truck for anyone who wants to give donations," she said.

The truck will be on hand from 8:30 a.m. until noon. Among the items accepted are gently-used clothing, household items, anything that is in good condition and can be resold, she said. All donations are tax deductible, she added.

With Alzheimer's becoming more widespread, Ms. Gaddis said the funds for research are needed now more than ever.

"Almost everybody you know is affected -- family, church family, work family -- someone is affected by Alzheimer's," she said. "Remember that when you're cleaning out your stuff. There's a lot of good causes and this one is special. My mama had it for almost 12 years."

The Memory Walk is a great way to raise awareness about Alzheimer's, said Anne Paugh, organizer of the event.

"People can support the cause in a number of ways - being on a team, walking to raise money for research, bringing in donations to the thrift store," she said.

"This year, we're also doing something new, offering prayer flags. The 'tribute flags' can be purchased for $10 each to fly over Memory Walk sites the day of the walk."

The brightly colored flags are modeled after Tibetan prayer flags commonly found flying in the Himalayas. Space on the front allows participants to write the name of a loved one and a message.

Saturday's event will be held at Herman Park, with registration beginning at 9 and the walk to start at 10.

Other features will be music, dancers, clowns, food vendors, and raffle prizes.