Luncheon and tasting raise $700,000 for Alzheimer’s

Photo by Evelyn Cairns

Dorey Williams (left) and Fiona Black, owners of Sweet Nothings Fine Cakes and Desserts in Lincoln Park, are shown with of the chocolate creations they offered guests at the Alzheimer’s Association Sweet Memories Chocolate Jubilee benefit Nov. 21 at The Henry. Williams and Black were winners of the association’s first Cake-a-Palooza fundraiser in September.

By Evelyn Cairns
There was good news and bad news at the Alzheimer Association’s annual luncheon and Sweet Memories Chocolate Jubilee tasting, which raised $700,000 on Nov. 21 at The Henry.

The bad news was that in 2010 there are 5.3 million people in the United States with Alzheimer’s disease, and that by 2050, there will be nearly a million new cases every year — with the cost expected to be $20 trillion.

The good news was that there is hope on the horizon, according to the luncheon keynote speaker, Dr. Ronald C. Petersen, director of the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, in Minneapolis.

Petersen, a neurologist and Alzheimer’s researcher who is quoted in nearly every article published about the disease, cautions that when the baby boomers reach the age when they are at risk for Alzheimer’s, it’s going to become a huge public-health problem.

He stresses the importance of recognizing the disease in its early stages, when therapies can help. The speaker says that physical exercise and cognitive activity are important in delaying the onset of the disease, as well as following a diet rich in antioxidants.

“Alcohol in moderation may actually be good,” he says.

A highlight of the benefit was the Chocolate Jubilee tasting after the luncheon. Among the many restaurants, bakeries, candy makers and others offering samples was Sweet Nothings Fine Cakes and Desserts of Lincoln Park, winner of the association’s first fundraising Cake-a-Palooza cake decorating benefit contest in September.

Owners Fiona Black and Dorey Williams have 26 years’ experience in cake design and have been featured in the publications American Cake Decorating, Modern Baking and Bride. Former high school classmates, they opened the bakery in 2004.

In the contest, they competed against Bryant Stuckey of Decadent Delights, and Heather Levitt, of Sweet Heather Anne, both in Ann Arbor.

Concert slated in Allen Park
The Allen Park Presbyterian Church will be the setting at 3 p.m. Dec. 19 for the Southern Great Lakes Symphony’s annual Christmas concert.

Works by Barber, Berlioz and Vivaldi, along with familiar Christmas favorites, will be conducted by SGLS music director Charles Greenwell.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra violinist Hai Xin Wu will be a soloist in Vivaldi’s “Winter” from the “Four Seasons.” The Erie Chamber Singers also will perform.

Tickets, $25, are available by calling (734) 246-2890 or going to Students are free if accompanied by an adult.

The church is at 1701 Park Ave.

Book drive will aid kids
Hundreds of books for children with special needs and their families will be presented, just in time for Christmas, to the Oakwood Center for Exceptional Families as part of a community service project of Allen Park’s Cabrini Middle School students.

A member of the Detroit Lions and center representatives are scheduled to speak during a presentation program at 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at Cabrini Elementary and Middle School on the importance of reading and the impact it has had on their lives.

The center is a medical home for children with special needs and their families.

Relay for Life benefit is set
In conjunction with its fight against cancer, Relay for Life Dearborn has scheduled a “Dine to Donate” fundraiser for 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 14 at the On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, 3310 Fairlane Drive (on the hill), in Allen Park.

Ten percent of food and beverage sales will be donated to the American Cancer Society on behalf of the Dearborn Relay for Life, set for April 30 and May 1.

Supporters of the Dearborn group also can make $1 donations at the cantina for paper feet to be displayed throughout the restaurant with the name of the donor or a loved one.

For additional information, go to the relay Website at

Mary Poppins will be staged
Performances of the musical “Mary Poppins” will be staged Dec. 16 through Jan. 2 at the Detroit Opera House. The official opening night is Dec. 17.

Tickets starting at $25 are available at all Ticket-Master locations and online at or For more information, call (313) 872-1000.