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‘Pinball for Dementia’ event raises awareness for Hoosiers battling disease

Pinball for Dementia event at Books & Brews in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)– “Pinball for Dementia” was created to bring people together to have fun and talk about a not-so-fun disease.

The idea came from a conversation between Chris and Jean Ross, a married couple with a background and passion for helping people. Only a couple months, the event was a reality.

“It was my husband collecting six machines in our basement and I jokingly said, ‘Why don’t we put these babies to use and raise some funds for work that I do for Dementia Friends?’” Jean Ross laughed.

Dementia Friends Indiana has been spreading awareness and creating a safe place for Hoosiers dealing with Dementia since 2017. Indiana is the 10th state to implement a Dementia Friends program.

As a volunteer with Dementia Friends Indiana, Jean recognized as the number of Indiana residents affected by dementia continues to grow, so does the need for creating a community of support for the people who battle with the disease every single day. The Rosses’ ultimate goal is to make Indiana a dementia-friendly state.

Chris and Jean Ross brought the idea for “Pinball for Dementia” to Books & Brews on the city’s south side, where visitors would have the chance to play vintage pinball and raise money for the cause. Books & Brews co-owner Keith Fechtman says when he heard about what the couple was doing, he was happy to help.

“This was something we thought up at home, and I reached out to some people that didn’t know me at all, and they said, ‘Hey, this is something we want to support!” Chris Ross said.

Even if you don’t want to play pinball, you can come enjoy the food, drinks, books and other games that Books & Brews has to offer and as long as the event is happening, 10% of the proceeds go to the cause.

“I keep having people come up and they’re not even stopping to play pinball, and they’re handing me 20 bucks, saying, ‘Thank you so much, my mom died from Alzheimer’s,’” Jean Ross said. “You realize how much this is impacting people and as our communities get older, it’s going to be vital that we really band together and figure out how we’re going to take care of people who have this disease.”

“We can talk about dementia, we can talk about pinball or whatever your’e passionate about,” Chris Ross said. “We’re happy to have you.”

The fundraiser started at 11 a.m. Friday and runs until 11 p.m., then starts back up at 11 a.m. Saturday, ending at 11 p.m. Both one-day and two-day passes are available.