“Hope Shines On”

My name is Deanne Alexander and I am an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association. My fight to help find a cure started when my mother Jane was formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2011. This was when my journey through advocacy to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s began.

Volunteering as an advocate gave me the support from others who were navigating through the same difficulties as a result of the disease and the resources to help find solutions. The camaraderie between all of us was so comforting and helped me and my family get through such difficult times.

The Alzheimer’s Association was a Godsend!

Fundraising has always played an important part in my role in the advocacy program. Experiencing the satisfaction of hands-on activities, gives me a tangible connection to the Alzheimer’s Association. Over the years, I have hosted many fundraising events, they fuel my purpose and passion as an advocate. This year I was frustrated with the Covid-19 pandemic restricting the association’s fundraising efforts.  So when my son, an EM doctor, suggested a fundraiser making masks that represented the cause, I was ecstatic! Not only would it be a service to offer these masks for fundraising, but to help protect the surrounding vulnerable population. He has worked non-stop with the horror of Covid-19 pandemic. He cares for the elderly demented population, so sick, confused and frightened, often just dumped into the ER with no outside support. Realizing the importance of the special needs of these patients, his Emergency Room is now in the process of getting Geriatric ED Accreditation.

Now, getting back to the masks, I wholeheartedly jumped in! I custom ordered purple ribbon fabric, and my friend, who was already making masks, kindly offered to sew them. I wanted to add a bit of personal shine to each one, so I hand painting some of the ribbons with a splash of shiny washable purple glaze. I also had to figure out the best way to arrange for easy payment through an e-commence site. Hence, the fundraiser ‘Hope Shines On’ was conceived.

The price of each mask is $15.00, this includes free shipping. There are two different purple ribbon designs and all the profits will go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

‘HOPE for the Cure’ is the light in all of us, it keeps us going when we feel helpless against this horrific disease. You would be amazed at how many people stop me when I am wearing my mask and tell me about how they are personally affected by Alzheimer’s, or asks a question about where they can find help. So, I truly HOPE you will support this fundraiser. Let’s wear our masks proudly, because every day our loved ones are suffering and we should shine bright with the HOPE that #EndAlz will become a reality.

Check it out here: https://www.hopeshineson.net

For my Grandmother

Keefer Schoon began his love for music when he first picked up a guitar, about ten years ago. He was inspired by many rock artists like Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin and Richard Wright, of Pink Floyd. Keefer loved the sounds these artists were able to create and immediately wanted to do the same. Page is still an inspiration for him and that is noticeable throughout his album. In the past four years, Keefer became invested in composing and writing progressions on the guitar where he studies music composition at Columbia College in Chicago. Wright is who inspired him to strive for uniqueness in everything he writes and creates. 

Keefer and his grandmother

It was around seven years ago when Keefer’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As her condition progressed, he learned more about what may occur. He was fascinated by the hallucinations part of the disease and thought about how he could express that through music. It was not until about last year that Keefer began to construct an album that would fit around the theme of hallucinations caused by Alzheimer’s. He began writing poems that expressed what a senior may go through as their condition with Alzheimer’s progresses. As Keefer educated himself more about Alzheimer’s, it inspired him to make a full-on tribute to his grandmother, Diane Keefer Stith. This album expresses the overall theme of imbalance that goes on in one’s life with Alzheimer’s. Growing up, His grandmother played the piano for him. This is where he got the inspiration for his song, “For You,” so that he is now playing for her instead. 

Keefer’s grandmother passed while he was finishing up the album on August 15th. His album, titled “Entropy,” is available to listen to on all platforms under the alias “DZ Riley.” This album follows the steady decline of a senior experiencing the various stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It is described to be a heart wrenching and equally beautiful experience that explores the psychological and emotional toll the disease has on those affected by it. All proceeds made from this album go towards the Alzheimer’s Association. 

“Entropy” album cover

Follow DZ Riley on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Find ‘Entropy’ on Amazon MusicYouTubeiTunes, and Spotify