Growing up, Jeff Ray remembers his mom, Sandra, as being “larger than life.”
“She was very influential in my life, and as we got older, she got really involved in the church,” Jeff says. “She has a strong faith and still does today.”
Not only was she active in her children’s lives, but she was always there for her five grandchildren, being an active grandmother and always supporting them in their endeavors.
“Sandra has been a quintessential example of a faithful life of giving, loving and selfless character,” Jeff writes of his mom. “She has lived those values everyday of her life. As a result, she has instilled those values into the two generations that follow her.”
But in 2017, Sandra’s life drastically changed. Jeff’s family began noticing that Sandra was becoming more forgetful, less social and when in a group, she would “fade into the background.”
“We knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know what,” Jeff says. So they took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sandra is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, and requires 24 hour skilled care. Jeff says, “It’s heartbreaking to watch her go through it.”
Then in 2019, Jeff decided to take action against the disease that was affecting his whole family. While playing a round of golf with friend Katie Church and her husband Duane, they came up with an idea: to host a golf tournament named after his mom called the Sandra Ray Invitational.
“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.”
But they didn’t stop with just the golf tournament, which benefits the Alzheimer’s Association. Together, Katie Jeff and Duane started an organization dedicated to honoring both of their parents, as Katie lost her father to Alzheimer’s years prior.
The David Moore Foundation, which was named after Katie’s father, has chosen the Alzheimer’s Association as its primary beneficiary. The foundation, which was formed in the midst of the pandemic, has managed to already support the Association on many levels. DMF has supported been involved in Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Charlotte, as a Walk team , 2020 Presenting Sponsor, and a 2021 Gold Sponsor. The foundation also was the Presenting Sponsor of the 2021 Charlotte Memory Gala, as well as a top fundraising team for the 2021 Ride to Remember.
“We support the Alzheimer’s Association because of all the work they’re doing in the fight against Alzheimer’s,” Jeff says. “We want to support research because we don’t want to have this disease.”
The 2021 Sandra Ray Invitational, which is presented by Harris Teeter, will be held on October 24 & 25 at the Providence Country Club. The festivities include a pre-tournament dinner reception the evening before, a full breakfast bar prior to play, and an awards luncheon to close out the event. Each sponsorship level includes Callaway pro-shop vouchers for each player. All are welcome to play.