Thank You, Golfers

Kubala Thanks Golf Outing Attendees

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Southwinds’ Executive Director, Stacey Kubala (left) with Southwinds’ resident Michelle (middle) and board member, Colin Morgan at Southwinds’ 14th Annual Charity Golf Outing

“Thank you to everyone for braving the heat today – I hope you had a good time, stayed hydrated, didn’t get too sunburnt and golfed a good game. Those of you who have attended Southwinds’ Golf Outing in the past are familiar with our mission and the service that we provide to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities – that is, homes in the community with 24-hour staff supports.

“Your presence here today and your support of Southwinds is indicative that you are one of the seemingly small members of society that values people who are different from you and that you are committed to making the world a better place. That world, for some of the people who Southwinds supports, is changing.

“I direct your attention to this picture of Gary. You may recognize him because he attended several of our golf outings in the past and helped on the beverage cart. Gary is 49 years old (remember that… he’s 49) and his intellectual disability is caused by a chromosomal abnormality called Down syndrome. 

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“A couple of years ago, Gary was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This means that all of the life skills that Gary has gained in his last 10 years at Southwinds will eventually be lost. He will continue to decline until he can no longer walk, talk or eat – and in a few years, he will die (remember, he is 49).

“Gary isn’t the only individual at Southwinds, nor is he the only one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – there are actually currently six of them.

“As a matter of fact, people who have Down syndrome are at a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than the general population, sometimes as early as age 40. Beyond the age of 60, a staggering 60-75% of people with Down syndrome are also living with Alzheimer’s.

“So it’s no wonder that Alzheimer’s is the biggest challenge Southwinds is currently facing with the individuals we serve. As an organization, we have committed ourselves to changing and adapting what we do in order to continue to serve folks in a home setting and to develop that setting to best meet their needs.

“To that end, Southwinds plans to design and build a special home – we call it our Memory Care House – to better care for people like Gary.

“We purchased two acres in Jefferson Hills borough last summer, worked with an architect through the winter months to develop a design with many state of the art memory care features, and just last week we completed the land development and permitting process with Jefferson Hills. So now, I am proud to formally announce that we are prepared to move forward with actual construction next spring.

“We hope that Gary will still be with us when the house is ready, but we know that the future for Southwinds will bring many others just like Gary who will carry on his legacy. Please enjoy this short video about Southwinds and our Memory Care House Campaign.”