Rotary club golfers helping charity

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013
Golf
LAUREN PRIESTLEY
ABOVE PAR: Parnell Rotary member Barry Fitzgerald says the club’s golf day is different to other fundraisers.

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Golfers will be teeing off at Titirangi Golf Course next week in the hope of raising $160,000 for Alzheimers Auckland.

It will be the 10th annual Charity Golf Day the Parnell Rotary Club has organised.

Proceeds from the day go to the charity Alzheimers Auckland.

The club came up with the idea in 2003 and member Barry Fitzgerald has been involved ever since.

Mr Fitzgerald says dementia is a worthy cause.

"It has traditionally been below the radar. For a lot of people it has been an unspoken family issue which has caused considerable emotional and physical hardship."

The tournament is always fully booked with sponsors and teams coming back year after year.

The aim is to raise the profile of the disease in New Zealand, Mr Fitzgerald says.

"How many times do people bring it up as part of the conversation? I'd argue not many. It is becoming more talked about over time though which is key."

Every day 33 New Zealanders are diagnosed with dementia and in 2011 nearly 50,000 New Zealanders were living with the condition. This figure is expected to double over the next 20 years.

Last year the tournament raised $155,000, contributing to a total of $965,000 raised in the last nine tournaments.

The proceeds help Alzheimers Auckland with operational costs. The charity has grown from 10 staff members to 26 over those nine years and supports dementia patients as well as their carers.

"For us it's marvellous," Alzheimers Auckland general manager Julie Martin says. "We're so grateful because we are able to reach out to far more people."

She says there's still a lot of stigma and fear associated with the condition.

"It's because of that lack of understanding that goes with it. For us it's about changing negative perceptions of the disease to give people hope."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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