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Holiday Craft Fair raises funds for Alzheimer’s research, support

By Staff | Nov 29, 2019

On right, Belinda Smith, of Harpers Ferry, smells potpourri made by Susan Mauck, of SB Products, at the Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Although their Holiday Craft Fair was snowed out when it was held for the first time in 2017, the Somewhere Over the Rainbow team decided that they would try holding it for the second time this year, at St. Agnes Catholic Church on Saturday.

Proceeds from the event will be combined with the team’s other fundraising proceeds and sponsorships at the 2020 Eastern Panhandle Walk to End Alzheimer’s. According to Team Captain Julia Wiley, the team works and walks in honor of her father, whom she was the caretaker of for many years.

“We walk for my dad. He was a bus driver in the Jefferson County schools for many years,” Wiley said. “Our team consists of our family and friends — some of them knew him, some of them didn’t.”

According to Wiley, the team members who didn’t know him walk because they understand the devastating effect Alzheimer’s disease has on an individual and his family. The team is now fundraising for its seventh year of joining in the walk, and has held several fundraisers this month, as the team attempts to raise more money than they have ever before for Alzheimer’s research, care, support, awareness and advocacy.

“We were shy $63 of our goal of reaching $14,000 of donations this year,” Wiley said. “Every year we get bigger. Last year, we were at $11,000. We’re setting our goal at $15,000 for this coming year.”

From left, Eric and Tanya Bettinger, of Martinsburg, sample honey produced by West Virginia veterans, in St. Agnes Catholic Church's Parish Office on Saturday morning. Tabitha Johnston

“November is the awareness month for Alzheimer’s. Our goal as a team is to find the first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease,” Wiley said, mentioning that in the walk, where all participants carry a flower with a color representing their relationship to Alzheimer’s disease, she hopes to someday see a person carrying an orange flower. “Orange is the color that would be worn by the first survivor of Alzheimer’s.”

As shoppers milled through the rooms in the upstairs and downstairs portions of the church’s parish office, walk member Teresa Mobley passed out handmade Alzheimer’s awareness pins and encouraged them to visit every booth.

“I think you’ve got a little bit of everything here today — we’ve got candles, we’ve got honey, we’ve got vegetable soup,” Mobley said, mentioning that she helped Wiley care for her dad, during his 12 years of fighting the disease.

According to team founder and co-captain Teather Smith, this year’s event, which also featured a two-hour visit from Santa Claus, homemade food and raffle items, was drawing the kind of crowd they had hoped they would see.

“I think e’restarting to get the amount of people coming in that we expected to see. We’re hoping to raise a minimum of $1,500 from this event, and we’re halfway there with the table reservations from the vendors,” Smith said. “Our 50/50 raffle and the food the team is selling are the ways we hope to make up the other half of it.”

To learn more about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit act.alz.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=walk_homepage.