Fourteen-year-old Everett Craven secures one of two grants from the David Hearn Foundation
Grandpa Ray made great dill pickles.
Fourteen-year-old Everett Craven remembers crunching on them at Christmas dinner when he was younger. It was the same year his grandpa, sitting in a green, fuzzy chair, gave him a remote-control crane that left Everett beaming with excitement.
“My Grandpa Ray, he was the best. I loved him a lot and I have so many fond memories of him … he was just a guy I looked up to a lot,” Everett says.
Grandpa Ray died when Everett was eight years old, several years after he was diagnosed with dementia.
When Everett heard about the David Hearn Foundation Kia Grant, which raises money for the Alzheimer Society, he put together an application with Grandpa Ray in mind. To his shock and delight, he was one of two winners selected across Canada, giving him $4,500 to bring back to the Alzheimer Society of Oxford.
“I was very happy about it, but I was almost curious, because this is all across Canada…and they chose me and another kid. That’s something special, for me. And to bring that home to our community, that felt even better.”
Applicants for the award had to submit an essay explaining why their local Alzheimer Society should be awarded the money. They were also evaluated based on their involvement in their community and in golf.
Pro golfer David Hearn is a spokesman for the Alzheimer Society of Canada and presented Everett with a giant cheque for the Alzheimer Society of Oxford at an event last month. Everett says the experience was a “great honour.”
Helping out the Woodstock community – and the Alzheimer Society in particular – has been a part of Everett’s life since he was a little boy. He has participated in the annual Walk for Alzheimer’s many times with his dad and lends a hand when the organization needs it.
It’s a role he’s happy to take on, because the Alzheimer Society was there to help Grandpa Ray and his family through the challenges of his illness.
A man Everett describes as kind and gentle became angry at times and forgot who his loved ones were. One time, Everett says, he left the stove on and a fire started. It was a side of Grandpa Ray that Everett is thankful he didn’t get to see.
“I do know that [the Alzheimer Society was] there just to kind of help us and guide us through it. If the patient was angry, you’d know it wasn’t actually them, and stuff like that,” he says.
The support the Alzheimer Society offered Everett’s family is one reason why he continues to volunteer. Another is his hope for a cure.
“I would honestly say that donating anything to find a cure for Alzheimer’s would be amazing. I would look forward to that day - it’d be like the day someone can cure cancer, if that day comes.”
In the meantime, don’t expect Everett to sit back. He’s done his volunteer hours for school, but as long as there’s work to be done in Woodstock, he’ll be looking for ways to give back to the community he loves.