For more than 40 years, Roger Dale lived the sweet life — sharing his passion for art with the students he taught at Wichita West High School, in Arkansas, in his home and at Wichita Independent School.
But that changed about five years ago, when Roger, who was still teaching at age 72, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
So his daughter, Arta Quam, decided to turn those lemons into a family fund-raiser and tribute to her dad.
On June 20, she and her family operated a front-yard lemonade stand — complete with an area for coloring pictures — to raise funds and support for patients and families living with Alzheimer’s.
The Quams chose that date to align with the Alzheimer's Association’s fundraising efforts, which are coordinated to fall on or near the longest day of the year to honor those living with or caring for someone with Alzheimer's.
“Currently, 51,000 Kansans are living with disease,” says Fe Vorderlandwehr, executive director for association’s central and western Kansas chapter. “For them, every day is the longest day.”
The Quam family lemonade stand raised more than $740 for Alzheimer's research and programs.
“The outpouring of support was mind blowing,” said Quam. “We even had three of Dad’s caregivers come from Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph.”
Angie Saunders, a patient care assistant on the unit, says she attended after work with colleague Machelle Clark, RN, to show their support for the cause and Roger, who has been on the Senior Behavioral Health unit at St. Joseph for more than five weeks.
“It was very busy and a really nice gathering,” says Saunders, noting that there was even a wading pool out front for the children to play in. Stephanie Warner, RN, who works nights, also dropped by.
After the event, the Quam family took the artwork created by their neighbors, friends and passersby to St. Joseph, where the pictures along with photos of the event now decorate the bulletin boards on the Senior Behavioral Health unit where Roger is receiving care.