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Early August was one of splashing-good fun for the residents of Holly Creek Retirement Community in Centennial. Nearly two-hundred residents, staff, volunteers and representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association crowded into the community’s central pool courtyard for the annual cardboard box boat regatta.

This special fundraiser for Alzheimer’s is in its 10th year, and over the past decade has raised over $14,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. Each year, the residents and staff work together to create one-man boats constructed only of duct tape, cardboard and team spirit. Their handmade crafts are tested in a race across the community’s pool, cheered on by fellow residents, family and staff members.

A total of six boats raced in this year’s regatta. The first heat featured ‘In the Year 2525’ versus ‘We’ve Got 99 Problems but a Boat Ain’t One.’ Unfortunately, We’ve Got 99 Problems had its share of them, including a narrow, flip-able boat. Three heats later, boat captain Ted Allum cranked up his paddle-power to win the grand prize flower bouquet for the Happy Hippies.

“This is the first time I’ve raced in the Regatta,” said Ted, a Christian Living Communities staff member. “But I’ve helped build several before. This is just one of the ways Christian Living Communities supports the Alzheimer’s Association and the families that are dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

Residents and staff members ‘bet’ on which boat they believe will win and this year’s boat regatta raised approximately $1,400 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The funds go to our chapters across the nation,” explained Alzheimer’s Association Development Coordinator Ali Brieske who was there to root on the winning teams.

According to Brieske, donations are used to support a 24-hour help line, fund education classes, provide care consultations with families and support research.

“It is because of fundraisers like this that we have money to continue supporting important research, so a big thanks to Holly Creek,” exclaimed Brieske.

There is no question that the residents love this light-hearted fundraiser. For many, the regatta is well worth the effort of boat-building and racing simply for the chance to laugh and bond as a community. In the words of Holly Creek resident Jana Vente, who helped build the winning cardboard craft, “We know how to have fun at Holly Creek. It’s the best when the boats capsize and people get dunked!”

Author: Bryn Phinney, Sigler Communications

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