Community members, including friends and relatives of the Buckley family, gathered at the Clifton Park Elementary School library Sunday afternoon for Lollipops for Lolly, a dessert reception to benefit victims of Alzheimer’s, a disease that has afflicted Ellison High School senior Erin Buckley’s grandmother, Lolly Buckley.

Erin Buckley spent months preparing for the event, as a project for her Leadership Academy course in school.

“I wanted to do something personal to me,” Erin Buckley said. As for the turnout, “I was shocked,” she said.

Her family attended the reception in support of her work, with more than 100 people coming through the event, said her mom, Susan Buckley.

“It was standing room only. We’re extremely proud of Erin,” she said.

Erin Buckley gave a presentation on the state of Alzheimer’s research.

Hosting the reception at Clifton Park Elementary was a natural choice.

Lolly Buckley taught at the school for more than 20 years, said Principal Catherine Snyder.

The elementary school is a feeder school for Ellison High School, she said, and they often help Ellison seniors complete their projects.

John and Mindy Smallwood attended the reception not only out of support for the Buckley family but also to support the cause with a donation.

Mindy Smallwood’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago, at the age of 58.

“I don’t think she’s said my name in five years,” she said of her mother, who now resides in a nursing home.

“Nobody wants to see their loved one go through it,” John Smallwood said, whose grandmother also had Alzheimer’s. “There’s no cure.”

Today, Mindy Smallwood’s father cares for her mother, visiting her three times a day to feed her and ensure her life remains as structured as possible. The couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this month.

“You just want someone to love you,” John Smallwood said of dealing with the debilitating disease, and “the Buckleys do that for Lolly.”

All of the $5,643 worth of donations collected at the reception will be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association, which seeks a cure to the disease, while enhancing the lives of those who have it.

Contact Madison Lozano​ at or 254-501-7552.

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