Fundraising Launch: A Dream Come True

I had a lovely feeling of achievement as I watched my fellow Rotarians and friends arrive for this milestone event. It was a hard-earned coming together after many hours of hard work. The room was electric as the sold-out crowd eagerly waited for the meeting to start and I had to pinch myself to believe it was really happening.

Calgary West President, Terry, introduced District Governor Neil Berg, Rotarians and guests. Robyn Braley led us in the singing of “O Canada”, followed by DG Neil with the grace. District Governor Nominee Elect Dan Doherty – the MC for the event - then took to the podium.  What followed was an energetic and inspiring history and update of “The Atrium”.

Dan then introduced two powerhouse women – Jennifer McCue and Evelyn Buckley -  who captivated all of us with what they had to say: one minute we were laughing and the next we were reaching for the tissue box.

Jennifer McCue, CEO of Bethany, set the tone by giving us a sobering account of the status of Dementia in Canada, together with the dismal shortage of appropriate care. It is alarming to learn that 25,000 people are diagnosed with dementia every year in Alberta alone and not enough resources to care for them.

The Riverview dementia village and “The Atrium” are two very positive steps in our quest to change this.

Evelyn Buckley, Honorary Calgary West Rotarian, and former Bethany Board member, then took to the podium. Evelyn and I have spent many hours chatting about Dementia, seniors care and what we can do to make a difference since we began this journey. I have come to respect and admire her - she is one tough and determined cookie. 

Evelyn stood in front of us with poise and grace and proceeded to provide a heartfelt and compelling account of her childhood and her inspiration to make a difference. Emotions were high as Evelyn captivated us and shared her story and by the end of her presentation there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. To top it all off Evelyn and her husband Clarence presented a $50, 000 cheque towards The Atrium.

I was so inspired and thought to myself, “How could anyone not be moved to do something after listening to this amazing woman?”

The speeches were followed by cheque presentations for the Rotary Clubs and individuals who have contributed towards The Atrium to date. I am beyond humbled and proud to say that it has received over $525,500 in donations towards the $1,000,000 goal.

Another great announcement at the meeting was the launch of the website: I encourage you to check it out and share it with your friends and family.

In Rotary Spirit,

Tony Knight

Rachel Antony