Dinner to benefit former Calumet teacher

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — A former Calumet High School teacher dealing with a rare disease will get some much-needed help from the community through an upcoming fundraiser.

A June 1 spaghetti dinner will raise money for Melissa Curtis Beckman, a 30-year-old woman diagnosed with Pick’s disease in January. The disease is a form of dementia that affects the frontal lobe of the brain, with symptoms like aphasia and behavioral changes.

Beckman younger than most people diagnosed with the disease, usually diagnosed in people between their mid-40s and early 60s.

The cause hit home at Gardenview Assisted Living and Memory Care, which is hosting the event.

“We saw the GoFundMe page that was shared around on Facebook, and at Gardenview, we have a memory support community in the sense of Alzheimers and dementia residents,” said Adam Gill, director of sales and marketing for Gardenview. “With her being 30 years old, that affected us. We felt bad for the family, and we wanted to support them any way we could.”

The spaghetti dinner will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. June 1 at Gardenview. There is no set cost, but people are encouraged to donate whatever they can to help. All proceeds go to the Beckman family, including her husband of four years and their 2-year-old child.

“We are planning for 400 people, and the way we’re going to know if it’s a success is if we run out of food,” Gill said.

In addition to spaghetti, there will be live music from Mike Steber and Gary Maki. There will also be a raffle, including multiple prizes valued at more than $500, Gill said.

Gill hopes the same “Copper Country Strong” mentality that led to people pitching in after last year’s flood will bring the community out to support the family.

“This isn’t like something where they have some medical bills and then it’s done,” he said. “This isn’t something that will get any easier. There’s a long road ahead of them.”

Gardenview is located at 26096 Elm St. in Calumet Township. For more information call (906) 337-0800.

Beckman’s GoFundMe page had raised $16,130 as of Friday afternoon. To donate, go to gofundme.com/t7yze-melissa-needs-help.