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Brain Health Initiative at The Children's Garden (TCG) Jumeirah

April 2014: in global partnership with The Dana Foundation will pre-launch The Brain Health initiative during the Spring Break event at The Children's Garden (TCG) Jumeirah, 10th April 2014.   

According to Alzheimer's Society in Canada, 'The human brain as one of our most vital organs, plays a role in every action and every thought.  Can Alzheimer's be prevented?  There are no guarantees but healthy lifestyle choices will keep your brain as healthy as possible as you age.'

For the Brain Initiative at TCG, complimentary wooden puzzles will distributed to the first 50 parents who will sign up for database.  The puzzle is a great  brain exercise tool that can be used by anybody.  Its small and can be carried anywhere.  Perhaps parents may also welcome the idea to have the puzzles as alternative for their children's I-pad.

 Alzheimer's Film Screening on Brain Awareness Week

March  2014: To commemorate Brain Awareness Week, - De-Mystifying Alzheimer's and CoTopia Social Responsibility hosted the film screening - 'You're Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don't' at Vox Cinema, Mall of the Emirates.  This documentary produced and directed by Scott Kirschenbaum was filmed exclusively in an Alzheimer's and Dementia care unit. 


4get-me-not volunteer and program emcee, Ruth Williams presented  Key Speakers of Alzheimer's disease on the perspective of Psychiatry, Physical Therapy and Nutrition.  Special thanks to our esteemed speakers / lecturers -  Dr. Alia Al Qassimi, Specialist Registrar In- Charge - Latifa Hospital;  Dr. Yousef Abou Allaban, Managing Director - American Psychiatry and Neurology; Louise de Jonge, Physical Therapist - Mediclinic City Hospital and Khaled Ibrahim, Regional Product Manager - Ensure Abbott Nutrition.  


Prelude to the screening was a guest performance from Dubai Vocal Ensemble. The widely acclaimed Filipino choir sang  their rendition of An Affair to Remember, Lacrimosa and Ethnik. promotes music as therapeutic and beneficial for memory and brain health. 

 The strong presence of students from Dubai Medical College for Girls (DMCG) was supported by the school Dean - Prof. Mohammed Galal El Din.  This was made possible through coordinated efforts from Dr. Marwa Mahmoud and DMCG student union led by Noof Rashid, Nujood Rashid and Fatima Mir.

This CSR event was co-sponsored by Vox Cinema, Dubai Medical College for Girls, American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology, Mediclinic City Hospital and Ensure Abbott Nutrition.

Special thanks to the delegates of Dubai Volunteer Centre and Support Group


05 December is also International Volunteers Day


December 2013: Our highlight this month will focus on marking the International Volunteers Day (IVD). IVD was penned by the United Nations in honor of the millions of volunteers and non-government organizations for their countless efforts to help humanity. This will also be an important day for because it will be our way of showing thanks to our volunteers who keep helping us and proving us with support. Without them, we might not have been able to pull most of our projects. 

Our special thanks to The Ministry of Social Affairs, Dubai Mall, CoTopia,  Community Development authority (CDA) volunteersMetLife Alico, Mediclinic, HRI & Clinics, Voice4Charity, Costa Coffee, MC Bassam, Invent Events, Dubai Youth Orchestra, Dubai Scholars Private school, Media supporters & volunteers for making 'Remember World Alzhemer’s Day' a big success! 

We are looking forward to work again with our supporters and volunteers for the next World Alzheimer's Day event on September 2014!

 'Remember World  Alzheimer's Day'  at The Dubai Mall

21 September 2013:

Join us… on Saturday 21st September till Monday 23rd September for the Remember World Alzheimer’s Day community event and pay tribute to those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease by helping us put a face to the disease

 Many of us at some point in our lives have known or heard of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and therefore have a rough idea of the significant impact this disease can have on one’s life.  On this World Alzheimer’s Day, 4get-me-not (a non-profit organization in the UAE) has teamed up with CoTopia Social Responsibility Dialogue and Emaar Retail under the patronage of The Ministry of Social Affairs to make some much needed noise within our community around this degenerative disease and bring into light the significance of Alzheimer’s Disease by putting a face to Alzheimer’s.

 When: Saturday 21st September – Monday 23rd September

Where: Dubai Mall, Waterfalls Atrium

Time: Saturday 12pm-9pm, Sunday & Monday 10am-9pm

What: Remember World Alzheimer’s Day Photo Wall and free on-site medical consultations

Do you know anyone or have you known anyone in the past that was affected by Alzheimer’s Disease?...

If your answer is yes then we would like to give you the opportunity to honor them and pay tribute to them by having their photo posted on the Remember World Alzheimer’s Day Photo Wall at the Dubai Mall which will be up from 21st September until 23rd September.


         1. Email a high resolution photo of the person to whom you would like to pay tribute to


2.  Come down to Dubai Mall Waterfall Atrium on the 21st-23rd September and bring your photo with you to post on the wall

But it’s not just about those who are suffering from the disease.  Prevention and early detection is just as important as knowing how to deal with Alzheimer’s.  This is why there will also be on-site doctors from Human Relations Institute & Clinics, MetLife Alico and Mediclinic throughout the three days to give free health & wellness assessment checkups, brief consultation and recommendation to the general public

Alzheimer’s is a life changing degenerative brain disease affecting many middle to old aged people worldwide and resulting in a progressive mental deterioration.

According to the 2012 World Bank report; approximately 0.5% of the UAE’s population (29000) are potential candidates for Alzheimer’s Disease and this number is expected to grow with time as early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease is now being reported at an age as early as 30.  This is a growing concern especially as most people are not knowledgeable when it comes to early signs of Alzheimer’s and therefore tend to neglect these warning signs until the disease progresses to a stage that is much harder to treat and contain.

This is why in 1994, the World Health Organization has dedicated the 21st of September as the official World Alzheimer’s Day in order to not only acknowledge and support those who are suffering from  the disease but also raise awareness within communities around the world to allow people to detect the early sign of the disease and educate them about their treatment and lifestyle options and educate those who know someone that is affected by the disease on what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s and how we can support them.

Why 'World  Alzheimer's Day' is important? by Nujood Rashid

Every 21st September, “World Alzheimer Day” is celebrated throughout the globe.  It was on 21st September 1994 during the Alzheimer Disease International annual conference in Edinburgh,  decided  that a special day was needed to  recognize Alzheimer's disease (AD) impact on many individuals.

Since then, World Alzheimer's events are held all over to increase awareness on AD. Various lectures point out warning signs and  early detection on AD, caregiver's workshops and also fundraising towards research and cure.

World Alzheimer's Day is a continuous reminder to societies of the lives it has affected.  It is also a beacon of hope in search for possible cure for the disease. This is a special opportunity for families, friends and caregivers living with Alzheimer's to get together and reminisce wonderful memories of their loved ones.

How can you be part of 'World Alzheimer's Day? You can participate in a community event organized by non-profit organizations in the UAE like Many young volunteers in Dubai would like to make a difference and should not miss volunteer opportunities from Alternatively visit a Geriatric Clinic or Elderly care centre and spend some time with the in-patients. Whatever you choose to do, every person makes a difference. 

My sister Noof and fellow students at Dubai Medical College pledge support for 'Remember World Alzheimer's Day.'

 Alzheimer's journey on Illustrado magazine


July 2013: Lifestyle magazine Illustrado featured's journey to AD awareness in its June - July  issue. Illustrado is a community magazine published out of Dubai that highlights the stories of Filipinos working abroad and their contributions in uplifting the society.

The two-page writeup highlighted our story  from  the need to spread awareness about AD for people without any medical background and the surrounding challenges that we are currently facing with our advocacy .

Special thanks to Lalaine Chu-Benitez - Editor in Chief & Publisher and Illustrado Editorial team for helping us raise awareness on Alzheimer's. 


The Children's Garden School and Caravan of Colours


[With Desiree: Louise Fisk - School Nurse, TCG Jumeira & Christina Feind - Head Art Coordinator TCG Jumeirah]

June 2013:  The students and staff of The Children's Garden Jumeira presented their 4th Annual Art Exhibition "Caravan of Colours." Its purpose is to document the progress of the children and to give them the opportunity of celebrating their achievements, much like the experience they would have in a museum walking from room to room.

Each room represents a major topic of the curriculum and shows the structure of the teaching tools from a creative perspective. The selected art piece will go to the higher bidder.
Proceeds from this year’s TCG silent auction will go in part to - A journey into Alzheimer's. 
Our special thanks to Ms. Birgit A . Ertl - Founder and Director, The Children's Garden for pledging support to and helping raise awareness on Alzheimer's in the region.

The Celebration Cakes


May & June 2013:  It was two busy months for celebration cakes!  And a bid to welcome summer season in Dubai.

On 27 May, Human Relations Institute & Clinics hosted a family home warming and dinner reception for the relocation of their new office at Jumeira Lake Towers.  Then on 04 June, launched Support Group for Alzheimer's at The Archive Library & Cafe and also to commemorate the 149th birth anniversary of Dr. Alois Alzheimer.    


Most of all my friend Lucy just celebrated her 50th birthday.  She is a full time caregiver to her ward for 10 years at Mamzar Community Center for the Elderly.  Happy Birthday Lucy!

Women Health & Fitness features Alzheimer's 



01 May 2013: contributed an article on Alzheimer's disease for the Women's Health & Fitness Magazine (WH&F) for May 2013 Issue.  WH&F is the premier health and fitness magazine in the Gulf. It’s a holistic guide to a happier and healthier lifestyle, offering a lot of information on health including, mental well-being.

On page 14, we find article contributors including Desiree Vlekken - Founder & CEO,  The full 2-page article on Alzheimer's is a great start to raise awareness on this incurable disease. would like to thank Eileen Domiati, Editor-in-Chief, Emilie Goldstein - Lifestyle Editor and WH&F Team for their continued support.



Rotary Club Jumeirah invites


17 April 2013:  Mr. Ahmad Belselah, President of the Rotary Club of Jumeirah  presented the ceremonial banner to Desiree Vlekken, Founder & CEO at the Sunset Lounge, Mina A' Salam Hotel Jumeirah. 

The Rotary Club of Jumeirah motto, "Peace through service," forms part of Rotary International whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

Barely five months operations in Dubai, was invited to conduct a 15-minute presentation by Rotarian member, Musa Al-Sadoon and also Managing Director of  Franklin Covey Middle East. Prior to the presentation, Mr. Musa delivered a heart warming introduction to in the presence of his fellow Rotarians and guests. 

The presentation of raising awareness on Alzheimer's disease in the region sparked interest among the audience as conveyed during the Q & A session. presentation was supported by the presence of Dr. Raymond Hamden - President, HRI & Clinics; Christine Basilio - Director Administration, HRI & Clinics and Volunteer Consultants - Rebecca Hill and Ingrid Sahu.  With special thanks to Julia Carden, Coordinator of Rotary Club Jumeirah

The dinner gatherings of the highly esteemed Rotary Club Jumeirah is held every Wednesday. 


A Memorable Evening


20 March 2013: "A Memorable Evening" - A film screening and community lecture series on Alzheimer's disease finally concluded.

The program started with an introductory note from Mike Young (The National) followed by a welcome speech from Desiree Vlekken, Founder and CEO of  A 15-minute informative lecture on Alzheimer's disease was delivered by Dr. Raymond Hamden - President, HRI & Clinics.

A mixed audience gathered together to share a Memorable Evening.  The exhibition table attracted also inquiries on the special  books and novelty items on Alzheimer's which will be available online by April 2013.

After the film screening of "Wrinkles," there was a sentimental reaction from the attendees, praised  the film and clamored for more discussions on Alzheimer's.

This non-profit initiative was Co-sponsored by Human Relations Institute & Clinics and Beaufort Medical.  And supported by CoTopia Social Responsibility Dialogue, Community Cinema, Spanish Business Council The Dubai Mall and Hersheys Chocolate World The Dubai Mall.


March 2013: Human Relations Institute And Clinics in association with The Foundation of International Human Relations (Washington DC) signed a MOU with to co-sponsor "A Memorable Evening."  This non-profit event is the first series of Film Screening and Community Lecture Program to raise awareness on Alzheimer's disease and other Dementias in Dubai, UAE.  

Dr. Raymond H. Hamdan, President of HRI & Clinics was one of the key note speakers prior to the screening  of the award winning Spanish animated film "Wrinkles." Families, medical practitioners and caregivers trooped down to the Picturehouse, Reel Cinema Dubai Mall last 20 March, 7PM.     



March 2013: Beaufort Medical, distributor of Betrinac vitamin caplets and HTL MyoVista signed up as one of the major co-sponsors of "A Memorable Evening.''  Jihad Fakhreddine, Managing Director of Beaufort Medical as additional support  provided complimentary use of MyoVista - a portable diagnostic device for the screening of Myocardial Ischemia (MI) to the attendees of the event



March 2013: Retail Is Detail LLC the distributor of Hershey's Chocolate World at The Dubai Mall supported "A Memorable Evening" event.  Abegail Bokingo, Marketing Executive of Retail Is Detail provided each attendee of the film screening a piece of Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate.  A sweet ending for a memorable evening!










March 2013: CoTopia Corporation for Social Responsibility, supported to for the initial launch of "A Memorable Evening" - a film screening and community lecture program on Alzheimer's disease held  on 20 March. CoTopia works on developing creative partnership programs which innovate creative and modern social responsibility initiatives in the UAE. Yousif Al Obaidli, CEO of CoTopia.                                                                                                                                                                                                       


March 2013: received support from The Dubai Mall, Community Cinema and Spanish Business Council for the upcoming non-profit event, "A Memorable Evening" - a film screening and community lecture series on Alzheimer's disease last 20 March.




 4get-me-not featured at

The National

01 January 2013: - A journey into Alzheimer's, was featured at the Business page of The National.  The article entitled, "The UAE social enterprises unfazed by a lack of funding" was written by Sananda Sahoo and photographed by Mike Young. 

 "It's a humbling experience to be featured in the United Arab Emirates' major newspaper.   This exposure will hopefully help communicate the need to raise awareness on Alzheimer's disease in the region.  And at the same time render most needed support for social entrepreneurs."

Read more:

                                              Image courtesy of Weekly Volcano


"A" - stands for Adobo and Alzheimer's


As an expatriate in Dubai for almost 12 years now, there are days when I have these food cravings from my hometown in the Philippines. 
One of the dishes I miss most is Chicken Adobo, and there’s no place on earth – at least for me – where I can find the perfect Chicken Adobo stewed with just the right amount of garlic and sugarcane vinegar but in my father’s kitchen. 
My father once told me that he learned to cook by simply remembering the taste and smell of my grandmother’s cooking. He loves to cook for our family – and we just love everything he makes. Unfortunately, there’s not much action in my parents’ kitchen lately. Apart from the usual physical stress of aging, my father has recently demonstrated early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Such news changed our lives overnight. Like any family, each of us have different ways of acceptance.
The Fisher Center Research for Alzheimer's states that “Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease without a cure and most common with the elderly. It affects memory, judgement, perception, language, and emotional behaviour or personality. As it progress, it worsens and eventually leads to the inevitable.”
I know that I’m not alone in this situation – living in Dubai far from my father and sometimes feeling helpless to do anything. But there are many individuals like me who believe that we need to empower ourselves from letting this horrible disease take full control of our loved ones (both for those who are living with the disease and those who take care of them).
And in my quest to learn more about this disease and to help others cope with this disease, heart in hand I present: – a journey into Alzheimer’s. This is the first online information platform on Alzheimer’s in Dubai, which we have put together in collaboration with Dr. Ahmed Foul who sits as Head of Geriatrics of Rashid Hospital, DHA, Dubai. - And what could be a more opportune moment to launch than on World Alzheimer’s Day?

Each year on September 21, Alzheimer organizations around the world unite to recognize World Alzheimer’s Day to raise awareness about the seriousness of the disease, and to bring attention to people suffering from Alzheimer’s, as well as their families and loved ones.

Please take this journey with me and together we will explore the possibilities of regaining the quality of life for our loved ones living with Alzheimer’s.