‘Farris Wheels of Hope’ group holds mutton barbecue to raise money for Alzheimer’s Foundation

The Farris Wheels of Hope is holding its first Fulton-area fundraiser — the group has held multiple fundraisers in the Holts Summit and New Bloomfield areas during the past two years. The Farris Wheels of Hope is hosting a mutton barbecue, fish fry and silent auction 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Fulton VFW, 505 Collier Lane. All of the event’s proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Farris family formed the Farris Wheels of Hope two years ago. Their mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about eight years ago. Vicki Clark, one of 14 Farris children, said their mother has tried taking medicine, which has helped slow down the disease’s progression. But Alzheimer’s has no cure.

“It’s hard on the families, it’s hard on the caregivers. That’s our main goal, is to try to help and save other families from having to go through the same thing we are going through,” Clark said. “We are the Farris Wheels of Hope, hoping that one day we can find a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

Clark said she did not realize there was an Alzheimer’s Association in the area until she noticed someone with a T-shirt from the Association’s walk a few years ago. Two years ago, Clark and her 13 siblings formed a team for the walk — in honor of their mother. Since then, they have participated in the walk as a family and raised money for the Alzheimer’s Association through rummage sales, bake sales, trivia nights, producing a Farris family cookbook and now, through the mutton barbecue and fish fry.

The mutton barbecue and fish fry fundraiser costs $10 per person, children under five years old eat free. Mutton barbecue, fish and sides will be served. The event also includes a silent auction and raffle. One of the larger auction items is a two-day, semi-guided bow hunt on 1,500 acres in Auxvasse. The auction will also include hand-crafted items like a cedar table built with wheels from an old wagon. Mike and Terri Sweeten of New Bloomfield are donating one of their award-winning country hams.

Marcia Lamons, who first started dating Joe Farris around the same time his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, said she thinks there is more awareness of the disease in Jefferson City and Columbia. The Farris family wanted to hold the fundraiser in Fulton to help spread awareness farther. While advertising the event and soliciting auction items, Lamons said she has learned how much Alzheimer’s affects families in Fulton.

“It’s been very surprising,” Lamons said. “I didn’t realize that a lot of these people, whom I felt like I knew well, I didn’t realize that one of their parents or grandparents had Alzheimer’s.”

Before the Alzheimer’s walk last year, Clark said the Farris family donated about $5,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association. The family has already donated about $4,600 this year and hopes to donate even more after the barbecue.

“We are hoping that after this fundraiser we could be upwards of $7,000 (in donations) maybe,” Clark said.

Clark said her dad takes care of her mom at their home on the property where she and her siblings grew up in New Bloomfield. Clark and her siblings all help out however they can.

“Our mom’s been there for us and now we want to be there for her and be there for these other families so they don’t have to go through what we’re going through,” Clark said.

The Alzheimer’s walk is Sept. 21 in Jefferson City, at the State Capitol. Clark said all are welcome to register to walk with the Farris Wheels of Hope or to form their own team. Those interested can register online at alz.org.

Anyone who wants to donate auction items or learn more about the barbecue fundraiser or the Alzheimer’s walk can contact Lamons at (573) 590-3656.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s walk, visit: www.alz.org/

Megan Favignano can be reached at (573) 826-2417 or megan@fultonsun.com.

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