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CGH Health Foundation to Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate!

Foundation news | Friday, April 1, 2022

Contact: Joan Hermes

The CGH Health Foundation is celebrating 35 years of doing good works in the Sauk Valley. The “Memories Matter.”, theme of this year’s Annual Appeal campaign, will also celebrate the lives of those impacted by dementia.

The new initiative is focused on raising awareness of the disease and offering resources and assistance to those impacted. Donations to the annual fund drive plus a bequest from the late Hugh and Betty Miller, well-known Rock Falls residents, will fund the effort.

Leading the campaign are Mark and Margaret Zumdahl, Sterling, General Co-Chairs. Their leadership team includes Dr. Eric Kuhns, Medical Division, CGH family practice physician; Veronica Edwards, Business Division Chair, Hugh F. Miller Insurance Agency CEO; Bob Sondgeroth, Clubs Division Chair, retired Regional Supt. of Schools for Lee, Ogle, Whiteside; Mimi Hicks, CGH Daycare Director, and Sandy Williams, CGH retiree, CGH Employee Division Co-Chairs.

“My dear Mom suffered from dementia for almost 10 years. It was very painful to watch as she progressed in the disease,” said Joan Hermes, executive director of the Foundation and daughter of Hugh and Betty. “She had been so active in the community with my Dad. Their Hugh F. Miller Insurance Agency motto is ‘Here Family Matters’ and they thrived on caring for their extended circle of ‘families’.”

In true community spirit, it was Mr. Miller’s wish before his death last June that the Foundation and the hospital work together to help area families. “He hopes the Foundation can help families to more easily navigate finding existing resources as well as potentially provide new types of assistance,” said Mrs. Hermes. “We will spend the next year in planning and creating local support for those impacted by dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

The Foundation and CGH Medical Center will be partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to offer a variety of resources to individuals living with the disease and their caregivers. Potential plans include: (1) create support groups in the area (2) host a community forum to learn from those impacted by dementia on what resources are lacking in the area (3) provide professional staff education on diagnosis/treatment of the disease (4) provide educational programs for the community (5) and promote community awareness of the disease.

More than 6.5 million Americans are living with dementia and the number is projected to reach nearly 13 million by 2050. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases.

For more information go to or call Executive Director Joan Hermes at 815/625-0400, ext. 5672.