Mike Burrell
Captain Ding Dong

Salutations Person,
I want to thank-you again for your support in the past. This will be the 6th year that our Grey Matters team will be asking for help in raising money for the Alzheimer Face Off (AFO) tournament. Last year, due to amazing sponsors, we were able to raise over $56,000. In the past 5 years, we have raised $228,000 to help “punch Alzheimers in the nose”. With this years efforts we hope to exceed $250,000.

My anger at what Alzheimers did to my Dad is still there, but I am now channeling it into determination. One of my Dad’s favourite sayings was “You can’t change the Wind, however, you can reset your sails”. I guess I reset my sails when I was leaving the arena after our final game last year. Full of overwhelming pride and quite frankly shock at the generosity of our donors, I thought… What if?

What if the money we raised actually made a difference? Actually helped to punch Alzheimers in the nose? A couple of weeks a go I read an article called “Solving the puzzle of Alzheimer's disease”. It is a research project right here at the U of A, lead by Dr. Jack Jhamandas that “seeks to neutralize “rogue” protein believed to be a key player in the development of Alzheimer’s”. The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and NWT has been providing funding to this team of Researchers. Money we raised, money you donated has gone towards this project. What if this is a start???

If you cannot sponsor this year, I completely understand. If you could pass this request on to anyone who has been touched by Alzheimers or put it on your Facebook that would be most appreciated. I have added my brother Danny’s poem below. Dad’s and his journey through the final years.

Please click here to sponsor, closes April 23rd

Please sponsor..... before YOU forget.

"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take"
Wayne Gretzky


The man and the boy walk. Slow steps, long pauses. Where there once was conversation there is now silence. The father and the son walk. Slow steps, long pauses. Roles reversed, the son protects the father, guarding for obstacles, helping to interpret the confusing world.
The dad and the son walk. Slow steps, long pauses. The dad serene, appreciating the sunshine on his face, the breeze through his fingers, the son struggling with the wrongness of the disease that is slowly robbing him of his hero. The dad and his son journey. Slow steps, long pauses. The dad on his journey deeper into the illness, recognition of loved ones fading, his grasp of thoughts loosening, his once great joy with the world, reverting to slow confusion. The son on his journey to understanding but never ever accepting the harsh reality presented. Damn the disease. The son is told, … I am told, that slow steps of research hampered by long pauses in funding will hopefully someday find help. Not soon enough; damn this Alzheimer’s.

Then… 2015…
The man and the boy sit. The setting sun on their faces. The light is there but no longer illuminating, no longer giving warmth. The boy trying to find images, finding only fading traces. The man no longer squinting. No need to fight the dark, content in his chair to wait. The son not yet.
The man and the boy sit. Sun setting too soon. The man still. The man still? The boy asks who sits before him. The man? With his memories gone is the man gone too?
The boy knows that the sun will set. Tears and prayers are not enough to stop it from slipping below the lingering horizon. The damn disease winning. The boy remembers the brightness of the man. Shining leading strong and warm and being all to the son. Now fading.
The boy looks for the shadows that must remain. Finding none, he is confused. Where are they all, the memories of the man and the love? No longer in the man, but where, damn it where?
The father and the son sit. The setting sun soft on the father's face. Settling the son finds the light. Not in the past, not in the corners of rooms or memories ill lit. Within the boy. Any smile, any problem challenged, sails set tight, kites flown proud, child listened to, jokes shared are where the memories and the man reside. Within the son. The touch of the man’s light is within. Always.
The man and the boy sit. The setting sun moves toward night. The man sits and the boy sighs.

Now and Forever… Sept 27, 2015
The boy still sits. The man is gone
The boy sits still. His hero is free
The son sits. By himself, but not alone.
Others gather with him. And in each of them, a shard, or fragment. A sliver or nugget of the man’s warmth, wisdom and light. Together we have not the whole but the essence. And that may not be enough, but it will suffice. We will be.
With each day the shadow of the disease fades. The fight against it will remain. But the awful effect on our hero has passed.
With that
The boy stands. Now he can bury the disease and is free to remember the man.