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President's Message - Peter May
Our first meeting of the year had almost double the numbers as the same meeting last year. It was a wonderful emergency to have to set up an extra table to cope with the additional partners, friends of Rotarians and members of the John Gardiner Rover Crew who attended. We were also very pleased to welcome members of the Rotary Club of Boroondara, who joined us for their first meeting for 2015. The big drawcard was our guest speaker, Simon McKenzie-Nickson, who spoke about his research into Alzheimer's.
Our Rotary Club is a sponsor for a three year period of Simon's exciting PhD research. He told us that this disease is the most common cause of dementia affecting 5% of those over 65, rising to 30% of those over 85. Thirty-six and a half million people have the disease worldwide. At a cost of two to three thousand dollars, it is possible to have a scan that can diagnose the disease 17-25 years before any symptoms appear. Simon involved his audience. He was bombarded with questions as he told us about the science of plaques and tangles; proteins that remove the elements copper and zinc in an affected brain. Being so knowledgeable, he responded to every question and went on to describe his successful experiments on mice. He has found a cure that works for affected mice using Cu"(gtsm), which causes the tangles to disappear and restores memory for the animals.
A tour of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has been scheduled for Wednesday, 18th February, to visit the research facilities where Simon works. Places are limited, so members should contact Ian Coopes if you would like to join this tour. As Chairman for the evening, Ian thanked Simon with a certificate of appreciation marking the gift of a donation to Australian Rotary Health. We all really appreciated his time in helping to make our first meeting for 2015 such an outstanding success. Thank you, Simon.
Michael Chong presented the Community Service report, which covered an amazing array of service projects in our local community. Lili-Anne and Michael are looking for eight members or volunteers to join the eight Rover Scouts, to help run the Twilight Cinema for Interchange Inner East. This organisation offers top quality, affordable specialist children's and adolescent respite/recreation support to families in Melbourne's Inner East. It is for families where their children have a disability and this event, that we are helping to fund, starts at 6pm on Friday, 20th February.
Our Fund Raising Committee has met several times over the past few months to give our Aussie Pride Pride badge a small facelift. The next orders of the badge from this week with be 20% larger in size and the card that explains the significant of the badge will now be in full colour. It is being made available to all federal members of our National Parliament and to all Australian schools for presentation to their worthy students.
A beneficial outcome of the Fund Raising Committee's project to make the Aussie Pride Badge available to Australian schools, is the new way you received the Club Bulletin. You will have seen that each email contains a personalised salutation and a much more professional format. We are using this method to communicate with some 8,000 schools across the country. We also plan to use it to inform the Councils, who use our Aussie Pride Badge for their citizenship ceremonies, about how the proceeds are used in our Rotary Service Projects.
In addition to having Marjorie Morgan as our next guest speaker, I'm sure we will all enjoy hearing from Brett Riley, as he presents his 'Member behind the Badge' talk. Matt Miller will become our newest member, when he is inducted as a Rotarian and member of our Club. Also, please welcome Merilyn Cunningham, who represents Girl Guides in Boroondara, to our next meeting. It is tremendous how our Youth Service Committee is forming strategic partnerships with significant youth organisations in our city.
Our Club is well and truly off and running for 2015! See you next Monday.