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More than 500 people came out to enjoy and support the 35th anniversary of Chocolate Jubilee Saturday on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Michigan Chapter, which included professional skateboarder Tony Hawk as the guest speaker. 

The organization has had many years of success providing support to thousands of families facing the disease. The evening, which took place at MGM Grand Detroit, began with a VIP meet-and-greet reception for sponsors who paid $10,000 or more to meet Hawk.

Hawk shared stories of his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, including his poignant post on social media in 2016 after a visit with his mom: “She has Alzheimer’s and today was the first time that she didn’t recognize me during our entire visit. It’s incredibly hard to watch someone you love lose their mental capacities and communication skills. She may not remember us, but we will continue to remember her the best we can.”

In addition to Hawk’s speech, the evening also included a cocktail reception, a seated dinner with a duo entree of filet mignon and roasted walleye with caviar cream sauce, and music for listening and dancing from Nouveaute. Also following dinner, keeping with the theme, dozens of Metro Detroit chocolate vendors (bakeries, restaurants and chocolatiers) set up in the lobby offering various forms of chocolate delights — along with a take-home bag.

With a generous underwriting donation from Marlene and Bill Emerson (he’s vice chairman of Quicken Loans), 100% of funds raised from the event will directly benefit the programs, services and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. In total, more than $1.125 million was raised from Saturday’s event, and they're still counting.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of TheSocialMetro.com.

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