Wine to Remember is Aging Well | Pittsburgh City Paper

Wine to Remember is Aging Well

click to enlarge Wine to Remember is Aging Well
Photo courtesy of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association

I'm in week two of working on these stories for the Alzheimer's Association, designed to support the organization and shine a light on Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. One thing in particular has stuck with me. Everyone I interact with seems to have been personally impacted by the disease, and everyone describes their experience with the disease as sad and terrible. I concur.

Writing this series took me back nearly thirty years to when my grandmother, Mary Agnes Ryan, succumbed to the effects of Alzheimer 's-related dementia. And how tough it was to watch her memory fade and to watch our feisty, funny grandmother slip away to a quiet, resigned woman who, at the end of her life, could not even remember how to chew. I realized just how hard I am rooting for the men and women who work for the Alzheimer's Association, those who support their work, and the scientists performing vital research.

Wine to Remember

This week, I was honored to connect with Lynzy Groves, development manager of Pittsburgh's Walk to End Alzheimer's. Lynzy is also responsible for the upcoming Wine to Remember event, a fundraiser and remembrance for the Alzheimer's Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter. Happening in the majestic rotunda of The Pennsylvanian on Thursday, June 13; grab your tickets today for the 8th Annual Wine to Remember event. Complete details and tickets are available at:

click to enlarge Wine to Remember is Aging Well
Photo courtesy of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association
Lynzy Groves stands with other committee members

Attendees will enjoy an evening of great food and wine, live entertainment, and a fantastic silent auction. This important fundraising event will support vital Alzheimer's programs and family services, as well as fund research to find a cure. All of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Alzheimer's Association—Greater Pennsylvania Chapter.

When I asked Lynzy what she was most excited about, I expected a typical event planner to answer about some of the fun aspects of the event. But she surprised me. She shared, "I love this event because it's such a warm, supportive environment. The people who attend are advocates, service providers, scientists, and many others who have been touched by the disease. Everyone can relate and is so happy to see each other."

Dean Bonebarger, FedEx Project Manager, likes the event because "talking and meeting other people is so easy."

click to enlarge Wine to Remember is Aging Well
Photo courtesy of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association

Of course, Lynzy looks forward to many aspects of the event, including the phenomenal wine pairings from Soiree Partners. "This year, we are focusing on the wines of four countries—some of the best—including France, Italy, Spain, and the United States." Additionally, the event will include an emotional opportunity to celebrate loved ones living with the disease and honor those who have passed away from Alzheimer's or other dementias.

Live Painting for a Purpose

New for this year's event will be a live painting of the Pittsburgh skyline. South Hills local Kait Schoeb of Paintings by Kait was honored to be asked to participate, mainly because the Alzheimer's Association has become significant to her. After living in Seattle for five years, Kait recently moved home to Pittsburgh.

"It's important to me because my mom has Alzheimer's. It was hard living across the country and hearing my mom slip away, which was a huge factor in why I moved back to Pittsburgh. After moving back, I became my mom's caretaker for a few months. I was living and dealing with Alzheimer's every day. To watch anyone with the disease is sad to see, but to watch someone so close to you have it is brutal, and I don't wish it on anyone. Unless you've been face to face with Alzheimer's/dementia, it's hard to relay how much it impacts you with just words," said Kait. “I reached out to the Alzheimer's Association for help and resources, which is how I met Lynzy. She was amazing in finding me help for myself and my mom."

Corporate Support is Key

The Wine to Remember event has attracted excellent corporate support, which is common for a non-profit fundraiser. What sets this apart, however, is the level of personal experience the partners share about Alzheimer's.

Lisa Hopkins, Area Business Development Director for Encompass Health, talked about the company's support for the Alzheimer's Association and how it increased with their foray into inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in Pittsburgh in 2019.

"Along with the Alzheimer's Association, we are fighting again Alzheimer's Disease and the impact it has not only on the patients we serve but their caregivers. We provide inpatient rehabilitation, care, and support to hundreds impacted in some way by the disease and look forward to assisting in finding new treatments to stop, slow, and prevent Alzheimer's Disease." Lisa continued, "I have been a strong advocate for the person who suffers with it and the caregivers. I have watched first-hand what a devastating toll it has had on the caregivers as they watch their loved ones struggle with this disease and its progression."

According to Kristen Jackson, President and CEO of Grant Street Asset Management, supporting the fight against Alzheimer's and dementia is vital because they see the effects on their clients. "Our company works with the fourth generation of many families, and we have personally witnessed the challenge of caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia." While Grant Street Asset Management is a relatively new supporter of the organization, Kristen has become a fervent supporter, "I learned about the organization through an event a friend invited me to. I came away thinking that there is not enough awareness of this disease beyond the families that it affects directly, and we are not doing enough to make an impact on treatments and prevention. As a local business owner and leader, I wanted to do something to help raise awareness and gather more funds from the Pittsburgh business community."

Support in the Workplace

An interesting intersection between corporate support of Alzheimer's Association events and services provided is the workplace support offered by the Alzheimer's Association.

click to enlarge Wine to Remember is Aging Well
Photo courtesy of the Greater Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer's Association staff members

Beth Bershok, Chief Marketing Officer of Louis Plung & Company and co-chair of the Board of Directors of The Alzheimer's Association of Greater Pennsylvania, talked about the workplace impacts. "This is a disease that leaves no work workforce untouched, and we are no different at my workplace; several team members have had personal connections to the disease."

Nationally, more than 11 million individuals are providing unpaid care for 6.7 million Americans living with dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. According to Lynzy, the Alzheimer's Association "does not want to see members of the workforce forced to leave their jobs as a result of the impacts of the disease."

 Local staff members of the association want to connect people to the needed resources. She also reminded me about the 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week hotline (800.272.3900) that is answered by live dementia experts who can provide resources, support, and crisis assistance in over 200 languages.

To learn more about the research funded by the Alzheimer's Association, early signs of the disease, or resources available in our area, please visit

Stay tuned to Pittsburgh City Paper throughout June to learn about upcoming events and opportunities to support a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementias.