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In My Community
Deborah Klement - Dance Away Dementia
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Deborah Klement and her dance partner, Roland Marciniak

“Good afternoon, Alzheimer’s Association, this is Deborah,” Deborah Klement says.  As the receptionist at the Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter, Deborah is on the front line, answering phone calls, connecting 24/7 Helpline callers to resource professionals, registering family and professional caregivers for educational programs, and processing memorials and donations. Most importantly, she takes pride in listening and caring for the needs of everyone who enters through the glass doors of the Alzheimer’s Association with the offering of an occasional hug and tissue. From the eyes of an outsider Deborah is the “go to girl.”

In addition to her job with the Alzheimer’s Association, Deborah is a wife and mother of two, Kevin and Krystal, a Master Cruise Counselor for Cruises Incorporated, captain of The Fair Park Friends Walk to End Alzheimer’s team that raised over $28,000 in 2014, and a ballroom dancer. 

Deborah’s connection to Alzheimer’s disease is deeper than most people know. What lies behind her strawberry blonde wavy locks, purple attire, coordinated eye make-up, and soft-spoken voice is an engaging and very personal story.  Many days after work, Deborah drove to Mayville, Wisconsin to care for her elderly parents.  She spent months caring and advocating for her father during his fight to avert leg amputations from repeated infections.  She also cared for her mother who was living with dementia. 
 
While fulfilling the “supermom” phase as Deborah’s children were in elementary and high school, she became immersed in finding ways to obtain better care and comfort for her parents during their illnesses.  It became difficult to always maintain a healthy balance and perspective.  Deborah tried to remember the positive loving advice her mother would often say, “Perk up! Something new is coming!”  Deborah found the “new” in ballroom dancing.   In the midst of the emotional and physical work caring for others, Deborah discovered dancing as her form of therapy and hoped it would one day bring joy to her parents as she wished to perform for them.  Deborah’s dad encouraged her to dance and frequently asked her about it.  On one very memorable day, he encouraged her by saying, “Deborah you just dance.”   
     
Deborah’s father passed away in July of 2013 and her mother passed away in August of 2013, a few months short of her first Viennese Waltz solo performance to Gloria Estefan’s “How Can I Be Sure” in October of 2013.  Although the death of Deborah’s parent’s may have taken away a piece of her heart, it didn’t take away her rhythm.  Deborah continued to honor her parents by dancing.  She devoted an Interpretative Waltz solo performance to Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” to her Mother. “The angel performance is in honor of my mom because she really was what I call an angel to everybody,” Deborah said.
 
Today, Deborah’s dancing career is busier than ever. She recently competed in solo and freestyle competitions at Wisconsin State in Milwaukee, at Badger State in Elkhart Lake and performed at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan.  Her upcoming events include Autumn Elegance in Pewaukee and the Fall Ball in Wausau during the month of October, a Chicago Dancesport Challenge in November and three holiday guest performances in December.
 
And soon, Deborah will be taking ballroom dance to the seas.  She is currently planning a ballroom dance cruise titled “Dance Away Dementia.”  This unique travel opportunity aboard a cruise ship with nightly orchestra ballroom dancing is being planned in conjunction with the 95-year old world famous Blackpool, England dance competition.
  
Deborah’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s team, Fair Park Friends, also recently received recognition for being a top 100 Walk team in the nation. Her goal for her 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s team is to raise approximately $30,000 for Alzheimer’s research.  “It is the least I can do to honor my parents and to help fight this horrible illness,” Deborah said.


 

Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.