JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) An anonymous $50K donation was given to the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Idaho at Creekside Care Center in Jerome on Monday.
"Aunt Roberta", the anonymous donor who gave $50k to the Alzheimer's Association, also asked a "Blessing Bike" be given to Creekside Care Center in Jerome as well.
The donation was given by an individual who prefers to be known as "Aunt Roberta" and while they've donated thousands to the association before this was the most Ben Neff — whose wife Kathy has Alzheimer's — has ever seen. Ben went along with his daughter Katie Neff, who's the activities coordinator at Creekside Care Center, to pick up the check given by Aunt Roberta.
“I said, 'Oh, this is marvelous a $5,000 donation again from that dear Aunt," Ben said before he was kindly asked to move his thumb from where he was holding the check. "So I moved my thumb and it was a 50, a $50K dollar donation, and so we all went pale in the face.”
While the donation was certainly generous, it did come with strings — or rather wheels — attached.
“There was one small caveat," said the Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association of the Greater Idaho Chapter. "That that we bring a blessing bike to Creekside,"
A blessing bike is a passenger bike made for loved ones "experiencing age, health or disability related barriers." It's a bike that gives people like Katie's mom Kathy an opportunity to enjoy freedom and fun once again.
“People like Kathy Neff, and there’s a couple other residents here who with Alzheimer's are really very limited to what they do here," said Katie Neff's husband Steve Kaminski. "And this bike really helps them get out.”
Along with bringing a blessing bike to the Creekside Care Center in Jerome, Aunt Roberta's donation will also have a tremendous impact in the complex arena Alzheimer's impacts.
"So the Alzheimer's Association is a global organization with a local impact," said Adrean Cavener. "Not only is 20% of every dollar we raise going directly to research and treatment for this disease, we also do over 30 support groups all over Idaho, we also do memory cafes. Really just giving support and resources not only to people who have the disease but also to their loved ones and caregivers."
Both Ben and Katie Neff gave their mother Kathy rides on the blessing bike as she smiled and donned a pair of purple sunglasses and a bike helmet. Residents at Creekside looked on, and soon after took turns riding the passenger bike with Katie peddling them along.
For her, doing what you say is important, and she's grateful the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Idaho did just that.
"If you say you're going to do something, do it," Katie Neff said. "I have just seen that in action here. The Alzheimer's Association of Idaho said we'll get you a bike and they did it."
"This is my favorite part of the job," Cavener said. "Whenever we can provide resources or provide things like this for a small community like Jerome, like this, is the best part of the gig"
Asked how far Katie might take her mother Kathy on a ride on the blessing bike, she says the grounds of Creekside are no barrier.
"We're going to get ice cream in Shoshone," she said.
If you'd like to a find a way you can support the fight against Alzheimer's here in the Magic Valley, you can participate in this year's 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer's - Magic Valley. That event will take place at the College of Southern Idaho on Sept. 21. Registration begins at 10 a.m. followed by the ceremony at 11 a.m. and the walk at 11:30 a.m. You can contact Danielle Lyda at email@example.com for more information.
If you or someone you know is interested in acquiring a "blessing bike," you can visit their website here for more information.