By Melissa Slager Herald Writer
The Sky Valley Whirlwinds Square Dance Club plans its sixth annual Alzheimer’s Benefit Dance on Sunday to raise money for research into the disease.
“We’re hoping to make a dent and find a cure for this horrible (disease),” said organizer Joe Bahr of Bothell, who started the benefit in memory of his brother, Marty Bahr.
Marty Bahr, who lived in Seattle before moving to Chicago, was diagnosed at age 50 with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He died eight years later in 2008.
Joe Bahr recalled that his brother was deeply involved in research into the disease and later requested that his brain be donated to the cause upon his death, telling family that “then my life has been worth something.” Since his brother’s death, Joe Bahr has made supporting Alzheimer’s research a mission.
All proceeds from the square dances go to Alzheimer’s research programs at the University of Washington and to Rush University in Chicago, where Marty Bahr received treatment and helped to form a support group for others affected by early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Over the last five years, the dances have together raised $30,000.
The 2013 dance is set for 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Edmonds Masonic Hall, 515 Dayton St. Square dancing, round dancing and contra dancing will be part of the mix. Callers and cuers from the area, as well as national caller Dan Preedy from Spokane, will be donating their time and talent for the event.
Dancers and non-dancers alike are invited.
Medical staff from the University of Washington also will be on hand for a Q-and-A session during the event.
Donations will be taken at the door, or donate online at www.remembertodance.org. Donations are made directly to the universities.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and typically affects older people. Early-onset Alzheimer’s affects people younger than age 65. Nearly 4 percent of the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s have early onset, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Square dancing and other activities are touted as ways to help keep the mind sharp as a person ages.
Joe Bahr is a longtime member of the local square dance club that helps support the dance benefit each year. The Sky Valley Whirlwinds hold regular dances the third Friday of the month at Tri-Way Grange, 3509 Seattle Hill Road, near Mill Creek.
If you go
What: Alzheimer’s Benefit Dance
When: 1-4 p.m. Sunday
Where: Edmonds Masonic Hall, 515 Dayton St.
More info: www.remembertodance.org