Allan Klassen wears a few different hats these days. He has his husband-and-father hat, of course. Then there’s one as senior vice-president of housing for Brookfield Residential and another as chair of BILD Calgary.
The fourth hat he wears is as chair of the Gordie Howe Centre for Alzheimer’s Research and Education Society (GH CARES). And like everything else he’s involved in, Klassen brings a strong level of passion to this undertaking.
The highlight for this non-profit that provides assistance to the 45,000 Albertans who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia is the pro-am hockey tournament held annually in Calgary in April.
CREB®Now: How and when did you get involved with GH CARES?
Klassen: It was in 2010 when I was asked if I would be interested in bringing the pro-am hockey game to Calgary. I agreed to go to a meeting where I was introduced to Gordie Howe and Frank King.
I had no personal connection to the disease at the time, not until four months after joining the committee when my dad was diagnosed with dementia and passed away 18 months later.
CREB®Now: How much money was raised this year and what is it used for?
Klassen: We netted approximately $600,000 this year, bringing our grand total to more than $5 million.
My dream is to build the “Ronald McDonald House for Alzheimer’s” so I know I have a large goal and objective.
All proceeds to date have gone towards furthering the research and awareness of what many believe to be Canada’s future largest epidemic – Alzheimer’s, dementia and related mental illnesses. All future funds will go towards programs, education, training, research and care for those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
CREB®Now: Did you ever expect the hockey game and other aspects of the event to get this large?
Klassen: My dream is to build the “Ronald McDonald House for Alzheimer’s” so I know I have a large goal and objective. GH CARES is more than a hockey tournament now – it’s a full-fledged not-for-profit charity that has other funding programs and opportunities.
CREB®Now: Where is the GH CARES facility located?
Klassen: The facility that is expected to open in the spring of 2018 is located in Fish Creek Park. About 3,500 square feet of space has been allocated in the Manor Village complex being built by Statesman Group.
CREB®Now: Who can make use of the facility, programs and services?
Klassen: Our education and day support programs will be made available to the general public. Our main focus is on the caregiver, both in terms of family, as well as professionals.