Growing up, Katie Church’s dad, David Moore, was her hero. He worked as a pediatrician, and Katie remembers doing rounds with him at the hospital on Saturday mornings.
“People used to ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up,” Katie says. “I would say I just want to be like my dad.”
When he was in his mid-fifties, though, Katie and her family began noticing a change in her father. David, who had been through medical school and was great with numbers, became unable to calculate the tip on their dinner bills. He was getting confused and irritable at work, and eventually was asked to take a leave of absence.
The psychiatrist had a devasting diagnosis: younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
“It was heartbreaking,” Katie says. “Being a doctor, he knew exactly what was going to happen to him and there wasn’t really anything we could do to stop it.”
Immediately, Katie began searching for resources, and turned to the Alzheimer’s Association’s online services to teach her about the disease and how to navigate his diagnosis. Katie’s mom was his caregiver, which she admits was a job she could never do herself. She idolized her dad and it was difficult to see his personality changes, like becoming less social and being confused by what could be considered simple problems.
“He was not the same man,” she says. “People didn’t understand what was going on when he was out with us because his body was still strong but his mind wasn’t there.”
Following her dad’s passing, Katie’s family donated David’s brain to Harvard University for Alzheimer’s research. But Katie and her husband, Duane, wanted to take more action to fight so that no other family would have to go through what they did.
They created a team, Team Unknown, for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Charlotte, and threw a party for a fundraiser.
“I have never been a really big charity person because I never really had a cause that was important enough to me to put that much effort into it,” Duane says. “But Alzheimer’s changed that. After seeing what Katie’ dad went through and how it impacted the entire family, I realized how devastating it is to watch someone you love become a totally different person.”
During their Team Unknown fundraiser, Katie and Duane host a party at a local brewery in Charlotte, holding a live auction, silent auction and raffle while urging donations throughout the evening. Last year, their Walk team raised $18,620.
But this year, they decided they wanted to take their efforts in the fight to end Alzheimer’s even further, and established their own foundation, named after Katie’s father. The David Moore Foundation has chosen the Alzheimer’s Association as its primary beneficiary. The foundation will continue to support Walk to End Alzheimer’s and now is proud to come on board as the Presenting Sponsor of the Fourth Annual Charlotte Memory Gala which is taking place on May 16.
Now, the Church family and Jeff Ray, their co-founder of the David Moore Foundation, are also teaming up to host a golf tournament. Jeff, an avid golfer in the community whose mom is living with Alzheimer’s, is helping create the Foundation’s inaugural fundraiser, The Sandra Ray Invitational, named after Jeff’s mom.
“People joke that I am a professional golfer because I play golf more than I work,” Jeff says with a laugh. “It was just a logical fundraiser to start, and I truly believe we’re putting on one of the best tournaments in the area. It will be an experience to remember.”
The tournament, which is presented by Harris Teeter, will be held on May 14, 2020 at the Pine Island Country Club. The festivities include a pre-tournament dinner reception the evening before, a full breakfast and omelet bar prior to play, and an awards luncheon to close out the event. Each sponsorship level includes Callaway equipment for each player.
To register for the Sandra Ray Invitational, visit davidmoorefoundation.org/sandra-ray-invitational.
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