Sue Matera from Hicksville is well aware of how Alzheimer’s can affect those you love, as her husband, Tony, lived with the disease for many years. After his diagnosis, they sought happiness and purpose despite everyday challenges that progressed quickly over time. Tony’s diagnosis also ignited a passion for philanthropy.
Notably, 2020 is much different than others, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play a jeopardizing role on nonprofits, specifically the Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia (LIAD) Center, an organization that provides hands-on services to diagnosed individuals and caregivers, which the Matera family became regulars at. With the center temporarily closed, Matera decided to do what she can to assist in a safe, and hopefully soon, reopening.
She connected with Isabella Salas-Allende, organizer at Save The Frontline, whose mission is to purchase, consolidate and distribute personal protective equipment to healthcare workers and face coverings to under-served and at-risk communities. Matera and Salas-Allende, along with assistance from Cornell University and Ithaca Generator, donated 100 face shields for the LIAD Center’s staff and program participants.
“I could only assume how difficult it would be for [the LIAD Center] to once again open their doors to offer their much-needed services to a population of diagnosed as well as caregivers/families,” Matera said. “They truly need all the support they can get. Just walking into the LIAD Center and seeing all the smiling faces can brighten up the day of someone living with dementia, diagnosed or caregiver. Tony attended their top-notch day program and I their support group, which was informational and extremely helpful.”