A man approaching 70 is going overseas to raise money for a good cause, but it's the way he's doing it on behalf of friends and loved ones in north suburban Evanston that makes him the subject of this week's 7 in Your Neighborhood segment.
Bob Danon enters the Skokie Lagoons, making as if this is surf surrounding the Greek island of Crete, which the 69-year-old intends to circumnavigate in September for the victims of Alzheimer's disease.
"It's just a loss for them and for everybody," he said.
Danon talks of a female friend's father whom the disease caught swiftly, laying waste to the mind of yet another elderly person.
"It was personally upsetting to me because this was a great guy he is the kind of father I'd like to think I could be; a great guy," Danon said.
Just east of the Metra Station at his Evanston art and framing gallery, the divorced father of one thinks back to the three kayaking trips he's taken to the island that he calls Old Greece.
Danon intends to raise $50,000 through pledges based on how much he kayaks. He's planning on at least 350 miles in 20 days.
"I am always close enough to shore that is something came up real fast like it does on Lake Michigan which we are all familiar with I am always prepared to get out of the water within a couple of minutes," he said. "I jokingly tell my friends that if you know 'bathroom,' 'Coca-Cola,' 'Greek spaghetti,' 'thank you,' 'good night,' you're okay."
"It was the most bizarre phone call," said Bethany Hein, Alzheimer's Association of Greater Illinois. "You're going to paddle around an island in a foreign country?"
At the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Illinois, assisting "third-party fundraisers" like Danon with customized web pages, outreach and encouragement is how staff fight the only disease among America's top 10 killers that cannot be slowed, prevented or cured.
"He was just so excited to raise money in a way he knew how," Hein said.
"It is a great adventure for me," said Danon. "To do and clearly that most people can't or won't do. I guarantee you that someone in their family knows somebody that this disease affects, it's about all of us."
Danon is raising $12,000 for the cost of the "Paddle to Remember" in addition to his $50,000 goal. The Alzheimer's Association of Greater Illinois says all the money he raises will stay in Illinois, helping the 210,000 victims and 300000 family and caregivers who live with the disease every day.
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