In 1994, David K. Johnson was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 59; he died 10 years later. His wife and primary caregiver, Susan, passed away from a heart attack in 1999, just five years into David’s struggle with the disease. The responsibility then fell on their children—Gregg, Bruce and Laurel—to care for their father.
“We were fortunate to find wonderful care for our dad at Peter Sanborn Place—a non-profit residence and home care provider in our hometown of Reading, Mass.,” says Gregg Johnson.
In 2001, Gregg and Bruce Johnson created the DKJ Foundation in both their parents’ honor. While caring for their father, the Johnsons recognized the importance of supporting people affected by Alzheimer’s and the need for non-institutional care. “We started the DKJ Foundation to help spread the word,” explains Johnson.
In 2010, Gregg met Mike Curren, a senior executive of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, at the Rotary Club of Reading. “I became very interested in the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund story and both Bruce and I knew right away this was a cause we wanted to support,” he says. “We were blown away with their founders’ commitment to having every dollar raised go directly to research and their mission to cure the disease.”
The DKJ Foundation has held a charity golf tournament every summer since its inception, as well as other fundraisers throughout the year. All of the proceeds from these events go to three nonprofits: Sanborn Place & Home Care of Reading, Cure Alzheimer's Fund and to fund a scholarship at Reading Memorial High School for a student pursuing a career in the health care profession. The 13th annual golf tournament, held on Aug. 19 at Four Oaks Country Club in Dracut, Mass., attracted 123 golfers, 15 volunteers and an additional 27 people for dinner, who collectively raised more than $20,000.
“For the past three years we’ve been fortunate to have someone from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund help educate our supporters and give us an update on finding a cure,” says Johnson. “The tournament is my favorite day of the year. My entire family, friends and my parents’ friends join us each year and a whole lotta love is shared.”
For more information, visit www.dkjfoundation.org.