“Neil Appeal” aids dementia-ridden Cattleman

Written by ECA Review

How might you help a friend when the mists of dementia suddenly descend? Jump into action? That’s what a few friends chose during fall and winter.

The former general manager of the Canadian Charolais Association became unemployed in Calgary in summer because he “lost his way” while on the job. Dementia began to grip his mind at age 73.

Denial may be a logical course for the victim. “It was for him, sadly,” said Danny Hansen, a real estate agent and cattleman at Airdrie, Alta. Hansen and two other friends met with the former GM and discovered other issues. The unemployment had caused sudden poverty for the entire family. “We had to act.”

Hansen and the two friends began a fundraising effort “to pay for the necessities of life,” totalling roughly $12,000, he said. They e-mailed a wider circle of contacts. Included in their action was financial counselling for the family, which includes a wife and three children. By late-December, they had 2/3 of the amount raised. “It was our way to make their Christmas happier,” Hansen noted.

One of the first action items was to get the family car fixed. When that happened, both the wife and the 20-year old son obtained employment. “That made a huge difference in finances and attitude,” Hansen reported.

A Charolais industry associate stepped forward. He began making targeted phone calls seeking modest monetary contributions, tagged the “Neil Appeal.” By mid-December more cheques trickled into Hansen’s office. “That encouraged us,” Hansen said.

When he heard of the plight, Ken Greenfield, a retired Calgary businessman contributed $100. “This is the way charity should be done,” he suggested. “No government, no bureaucracy, no tax receipt – just friends helping out,” he noted.

If he could comprehend properly, Neil Gillies, likely would offer a humble “Thank You.” 

Mr. Hansen’s e-mail is: drealty2@shaw.ca.

Neil hails from Tees, where he had a smaller cattle operation in the late ’70s, mid ’80s.


Editor’s Note: Mark Kihn is the former editor/publisher of the Charolais Banner. He writes out of Calgary.

by  Mark Kihn

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