News anchor serves “hope” with unique Alzheimer’s fundraiser

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EDMOND, Okla -- With re-purposed wood, sturdy glue and some imagination, the possibilities are boundless.

I'm not a carpenter, but inherited a garage full of tools when my dad, Larry lost a 5 year battle with Alzheimer's.

He was a guy who could construct or fix anything. Planting trees to building cars Larry had a tool for any job and the determination to teach his children the value of sweat.

Using Dad's work ethic and the skills he passed down, I began building "hope" for a cure to a cruel disease.

Cutting wood to shape minds. Alzheimer's Walk Manager, Leslie Illston said, "It goes to show that the little things and the things that are personal to people can really make a big impact."

Several months ago I set out to assemble decorative trays. Gluing, sanding and painting became a very personal crusade.

I had hoped to create enough trays to sell them and donate $500 to the Alzheimer's Association.

I greatly underestimated the generosity and kindness of others - who, knowing the cause, placed orders.

Hundreds of trays and COUNTING -- now In homes around the country.

Jim Chandler ordered a special tray, made with hinges for his 84 year old mom, Ima Jean.

Before Alzheimer's, she loved the kitchen and is still fascinated with opening cabinets. Chandler said, "When she got that tray I set it down in front of her. That first hinge when she first seen that, she opened and closed it went back and opened and closed again. I would love to see my mom like she was before. That would be the greatest thing."

The trays are distressed and imperfect. It's a metaphor, really for a cruel disease. Illston told us, "They are still loved and still beautiful and they are still who we all know. Even if they can't remember things anymore. And so they are perfectly imperfect to each of us to their family members."

I recognize wooded trays won't end Alzheimer's but perhaps my passion will serve as harbinger of hope. Illston said, "For most families it's that one glimmer of hope that they're not alone in this fight. And they can make a difference."

Dad is very much alive in me, guiding my hand and, more importantly -- guiding my heart to somehow make a small difference fighting a disease that impacts so many families. Chandler told us, "This disease doesn't care who you are. No matter. To help everyone not get it is the best thing to do and fundraisers, anything we can do to help. Every time we talk about something and you're passionate, it's your heart it's what's going do it."

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