By Kara Jacobsen

Sunshine broke through the clouds on Friday, May 3rd, as 220 guests arrived at Rancho Bernardo Inn for the sold-out Visionary Luncheon & Auction. More than $120,000 was raised for Alzheimer’s support and research – and as always, every dollar will stay in San Diego County.

The event began with a silent auction reception featuring live music, a photobooth and a lively golf chipping contest. Then, the crowd filed into the dining area to eat a delicious meal before the program and live auction began.

Board Chair Bill Smith welcomed the attendees, and introduced Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who shared updates on the county’s dementia initiative, The Alzheimer’s Project. Next, the Visionary of the Year Linda Cioffi was introduced.

Guests were glued to the screen as a short video celebrating Linda’s accomplishments as a longtime Walk4ALZ team captain was shown. In the video (which you can watch above), Linda talked about losing her mother to dementia, and how that motivated her to lead Team Quest for the Cure year after year. The crowd rose to their feet in applause as she welcomed to the stage.

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During her speech, Linda said she is constantly inspired by Alzheimer’s San Diego CEO Eugenia Welch, who, she added with a laugh, “can pinch a penny until someone screams for mercy.” She is also inspired by members of her Monarch Club, who donate $1,000 or more to the Walk4ALZ.

“It is my honor is to support an excellent organization that is the heart and soul of San Diego, and shares both my passion and purpose,” Linda explained.

After Linda’s speech, 30 people committed to become members of the Visionary Giving Circle, pledging to donate either $100 each month or $1,200 a year. To learn more about this special group of donors, click here.

The event continued with a fiery live auction. Things became especially heated during the auction of the “Sheriff for a Day” package, as guests seated on either side of Sheriff Bill Gore himself battled for the highest bid. Other top live auction items included a trip for two to New York City complete with airfare, hotel, and tickets to a taping of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, and a 1-week stay in the South of France.

Alzheimer’s San Diego CEO Eugenia Welch said she felt the event was lively and successful.

“I am so grateful for community leaders such as Linda and everyone else who so devotedly dedicates their efforts to supporting the fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia,” she said.