Julie Williams said her mother-in-law Pat would have planned Dancing Stars of Atlanta if she could have.
“This is the kind of thing she would’ve pulled together for someone else — an event she would have orchestrated,” she said.
The Alzheimer’s Association’s Georgia chapter’s fourth annual Dancing Stars of Atlanta, which imitates the popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” is dedicated to Pat, 87, who is known for organizing the Cherokee Town Club in Buckhead, and was diagnosed with dementia last fall.
Julie Williams calls the event “a labor of love.”
“She would have had thousands of dollars donated,” she said. “But she can’t participate and she can’t galvanize this. It needs to be done for her.”
The event pairs Atlanta celebrities with professional dancers to raise money by winning votes in a one-night gala dance competition. The top dancing pair and the top fundraiser each will be honored.
“Our whole family will be there. We’re looking forward to all that love coming to her,” Julie Williams said. “She is still very plugged into all that positive energy.”
Event chairwoman Toni Moceri said she got involved with the association because her grandmother, who raised her, died from Alzheimer’s in 2005.
“I felt the need to give back to make more people aware of the devastation it causes the whole family,” she said. “My hope for this year as the chair is to continue to raise awareness and funds to help offset the cost of this disease.”
Moceri said the chapter expects more than 500 guests at the show, which has generated more than $800,000 since its inception in 2010.
“With this year’s revenue combined we will have raised over $1 million,” she said. “Funds raised from this event support the programs and services provided for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as their families and caregivers.”
The event began in Columbus, Moceri said, and this is the first year the show will take place in all seven regions of the association’s Georgia chapter.
Julie Williams said the hardest aspect of dementia for her mother-in-law was losing the ability to bring people together and to liven the group with her “jovial” personality.
However, she said Pat’s personality and spirit will never truly be gone.
“We see her personality emerging in our children and it’s so exciting seeing Pat in them,” she said. It’s a statement of how important it is that our children know their grandparents. It’s a great luxury.”
If you go:
o What: Dancing Stars of Atlanta
o When: June 15
o Where: Loews Atlanta Hotel, 1065 Peachtree St., Midtown
o Benefits: Alzheimer’s Association’s Georgia chapter
o Tickets: $250 per person; tables start at $2,500
o Information: www.dancingstarsofatlanta.com