By Janet Cruz
More than 500 people gathered at London Bridge Beach for the eighth annual Movin’ For Memory Walk hosted by the Dementia Connection, and were treated to a special concert performed by former “The Voice” contestant and Country singer Jay Allen Saturday.
“This (the event) began with a small committee eight years ago with only 100 participants and to see over 500 participants this time is great,” said Vilma Urbina with the Dementia Connection and owner of Gems Assisted Living. “We are so blessed with this turnout,” she said.
Havasu residents may be familiar with the music that Jay Allen plays since he performed at the annual Movin’ For Memory walk back in 2019 and he was on the show “The Voice” this year. Those who tuned in to the “The Voice ” on NBC in September, would remember that Allen advanced and chose to join team Gwen Stefani and went on to compete among many talented hopefuls in the show’s new season before being sent home in week 1 of the show’s knockout round.
Allen is best known for writing and performing “Blank Stares” – a song he holds close to his heart after his mom passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease. His song has since gone viral and moved up the charts on iTunes after his appearance on the show. His song has also helped him raise money for Alzheimer’s awareness. Allen has helped raise more than $100 million for the cause.
“I think a lot of us come out to not just support the event, but for family and friends who have been affected,” said participant Marylin Davis. “It’s a very connecting disease and we all have our stories. I think it’s phenomenal that Jay Allen came out here and is just so supportive of what this group does, and the people who come out. He is amazing,” she said.
“It’s amazing to have him sing about his mom and how her eyes lit up. That’s the best part about working with residents suffering from dementia,” said Suzanne Lehman, participant and supporter of the event. “This is an awesome event to raise money and it does a really great job every year,” she said.
After the disease took Allen’s mother, he dedicated his life to this cause, and following his performance during the season premier on “The Voice”, “Blank Stares” climbed to No. 2 on the iTunes Country chart.
“I’ve toured and have done this all over the country and this is the one place I have come to three times in the same location, says Jay Allen. “You feel like everyone has such a big heart here in Lake Havasu. I don’t know what it is that’s why I keep coming back. This is not only my purpose but my passion,” he said.
The Dementia Connection of Havasu raises awareness through the Movin’ For Memory event which stresses the importance of exercise to challenge your brain and aide in memory. All proceeds from this walk stays locally in Lake Havasu City.
“We are planning to continue this event every year, ” We are honored to have Jay Allen here to also share with us his story of his mother, says Urbina. “He has a great story.”
After the walk, participants also had the opportunity to win raffle prizes donated by local businesses and other community members. A special purple drink was also made by Charged Up Nutrition in support of the cause. Allen also performed at the Flying X Saturday evening.
For more information on the Dementia Connection or Havasu Community Health Foundation, visit https://havasucommunityhealthfoundation.org/dementia