For the second straight year, the Little Purple Dress luncheon celebrated women and successful aging and brought to light the battle many face with Alzheimer's disease.
The Rochester chapter of the Alzheimer's Association was founded more than 30 years ago. It began by serving just Monroe County, but now makes its services available throughout the nine-county Greater Rochester area.
This luncheon, held Thursday at the Hyatt Regency, has helped bring more awareness to the disease.
"As more prominent people have been diagnosed, like Glen Campbell, it's just getting the word out there and raising the funds to do the research so that we can stop this disease,” said Debra Mayberry, founder of the Rochester chapter.
Former Rochester journalist Gail Sheehy was the keynote speaker. She's written a book that deals with caring for someone with a chronic disease entitled "Passages in Caregiving."
"Which is about taking care of anybody, parents or spouse or sibling, as we live longer and longer with chronic illness. Certainly, Alzheimer's is the king of chronic illnesses because it often takes 10 or 20 years before someone goes through the entire cycle of losing cognitive function,” said Sheehy.
Annemarie Groth-Juncker, a retired University of Rochester Medical Center physician, was the recipient of the Debra Mayberry Award for her work in geriatric medicine. Groth-Juncker says today's medicines can do wonderful things to help prolong life, but the elderly need to be physically active so they can have what she calls a more successful old age.
"We need to feel the life in our body again, we need to learn to move again, move our joints, our muscles and our soul,” said Dr. Groth-Juncker.
Two purple dresses were up for auction. One was donated by international designer Donna Karan, and the other was courtesy of Lord and Taylor. All proceeds went to the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.