Athletes Against Alzheimer's makes donation

Megan DiPanni, vice president of development for the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, accepts a donation from Michael Loftus, founder of the Athletes Against Alzheimer’s 5K.

After five years of fundraising in Sussex County for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Delaware Valley Chapter, and more than $90,000 raised to date, Athletes Against Alzheimer’s founder Michael Loftus announced this week that he has expanded the scope of initiatives he intends to fund.

Loftus said he wants to continue to fund research and support on a national level, and also wants to make an impact right here at the beach. The Athletes Against Alzheimer’s race will now also help to fund the Memory Café at the CHEER Senior Activity Center in Ocean View.

A key way Loftus has raised funds has been via the annual walk/run. The 6th Annual Athletes Against Alzheimer’s 5K Run/Walk, presented by Loftus Wealth Strategies, is planned for Aug. 4.

Inspired by the struggle and eventual loss of Loftus’ father in 2013 to Alzheimer’s disease, he has dedicated a good part of the last five years to helping find a cure and supporting those suffering from the disease and their caregivers.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior; the life-interfering symptoms worsen over time, and there is no cure.

“We are grateful to everyone who has helped support this good work since its inception of the race. Our new goal is to raise money for regional and local initiatives. Our race funds the treatment, research and support for those affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, and will help the Memory Café right here in Sussex County.” said Loftus.

According to Beckett Wheatley, chief operating officer of CHEER Inc., the Memory Café at CHEER is an informal social gathering place for memory and cognitively impaired individuals and their caregivers with independent activities for those seeking fellowship, information and resources.

“CHEER Inc. greatly relies on the partnerships with our donors and volunteers. Without their generosity, we would be unable to continue many of the programs and services that bring comfort and joy to our Sussex County seniors,” said Wheatley.

“Our sponsors are important partners in our fight against Alzheimer’s,” said Loftus. “Generous support from local businesses makes a real difference. I want to thank our past and current sponsors, and encourage other businesses to join forces with us to make our event stronger and the fight against this terrible disease achievable.”

In addition to Loftus Wealth Strategies, sponsors over time have included: 26 Salon & Spa, Artisans Bank, Baja Beach House Grill, Bank of DelMarVa, the Coastal Point, County Bank, Creative Resource Group, Crowley Associates Realty Inc., DJ Padraig, Todd & Candace Hickman and family, Home Instead Senior Care, Law Offices of Scott & Shuman, Long & Foster Realtors, Anne Del Vecchio Powell—Delaware & Maryland Beach Real Estate Services, Law Offices of Susan Pittard Weidman, Wilgus Associates Inc. Sponsorship opportunities for this year are now available.

Loftus added that participants — people who participate as runners or walkers — are very important to a successful fundraising event, as are volunteers.

“I invite like-minded people to join me to help us meet our goals to beat this disease and to provide respite for people living with Alzheimer’s in the meantime. I am looking for people who feel as passionately about this as I do to join me in the fight,” said Loftus.

Parties interested in volunteering should contact Loftus at his office at (302) 727-2166.

Produced by Focus Multisports, the fast, flat and scenic 5K features awards and a post-race party on the boardwalk with DJ Padraig.

Registration is now open at www.alzrun.com. Those who register before the middle of July are guaranteed a special tech shirt. Visit the Facebook page for ALZRunWalk for more details and updates. For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, visit alz.org/delval. For more information about the Memory Café at the CHEER Centers, visit www.cheerde.com.