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Gala recognizes those who fight Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s Family Services Center, a dementia-specific adult day health care facility, celebrated its 14th annual A Gathering of Friends Gala on Saturday at the Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel in Huntington Beach.

More than 300 guests helped raise $245,000 through the evening’s fundraising efforts, including an $80,000 matching sponsorship from Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.

“With more than 83,000 individuals living with dementia in Orange County, our hands-on care solutions are needed now more than ever,” said Joanna Richardson-Jones, chief executive of the Huntington Beach-based center. “The dollars raised at our event will help hundreds of local families navigating the difficult journey of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. We are greatly appreciative of those who attended our event.”

The center selected William R. Shankle,M.D., Judy and Richard Voltmer Chair in Memory and Cognitive Disorders and Director of the Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program at Hoag’s Neurosciences Institute, and Junko Hara, director of research at Shankle Clinic in Newport Beach and scientific adviser for the brain aging program, as its Distinguished Friend honorees for their longtime support of the Alzheimer’s Family Services Center and contributions in the field of memory and cognitive disorders. Shankle maintains his academic career at the department of cognitive sciences at UC Irvine. For 10 years, he also served as a clinical director at UCI’s Alzheimer’s Research Clinic.

The agency also honored Gerald D. Weinstein of Irvine, a former academic dermatologist who has been attending the center since June 2013. The highlight of the evening was a touching tribute video to Weinstein that commemorated his career achievements, including serving as chairman of the department of dermatology at UC Irvine for more than three decades and serving as dean of the UCI School of Medicine from 1984 to ’87. The Alzheimer’s Family Services Center is affiliated with Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute and is an independent, nonprofit agency dedicated to improving quality of life for families challenged by Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia through services tailored to meet individual needs.