Health Team

Thrift store raises money for Alzheimer's research

Posted November 15, 2011

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— When Alzheimer's disease robs a person of their mind, and then their life, it changes their family forever.

And while the struggle and loss can be difficult to deal with, it often inspires those family members to reach out to others dealing with the disease and try to help.

For Laura Gaddis, of Fuquay-Varina, the painful loss of her mother to Alzheimer's disease more than 10 years ago became the inspiration to try and help raise money for research.

That inspiration led to the opening of Guardian Angel Thrift, a nonprofit store that has raised more than 1 million dollars for Alzheimer's research since it opened in an old Harris Teeter in 2003.

Gaddis said that caring for her mother, who died in 2001, made her realize that raising money was what she wanted to do.

“I decided I would like to do something to try and raise research funds,” she said. “I went to sleep one night and asked for a plan and woke up the next morning, I started writing. It was laid out, where, who, what. I feel like it was given to me.”

Thrift store raises money for Alzheimer's research Thrift store raises money for Alzheimer's research

The store, which was small at first, expanded quickly. Gaddis now has 45 employees. After covering the costs of running the store, all of the profits go to Alzheimer’s North Carolina in Raleigh.

“We donate to Alzheimer’s NC in Raleigh, Gaddis said. “Their board decides to grant requests and to decide where it’s going from there.”

So far, all of the money has gone to researchers at UNC and Duke Hospitals. Gaddis gives the credit to the Fuquay-Varina community.

“Communities have been very supportive,” she said. “They’ve just wrapped their arms around us and we got a lot of good stuff in.”

Shari Stocks, Gaddis’ daughter, serves as the operations manager for the store. She said the family has a passion for helping raise money for Alzheimer’s research.

“It’s a lot to manage,” she said. “We enjoy doing it because there’s a passion for us since it has affected our family personally.”

Guardian Angel Thrift accepts donations of furniture, clothing and other household items and even offers a pick-up service for larger pieces of furniture. The store is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.


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  • redruby Nov 18, 2011

    Awesome!!! I would love to do something like this for women/teens who need rehab like the Potters Wheel for guys! Stories like this inspire you to make a will come true, of course with the may help of the ultimate Planner. Love this store and what they do to change lives!!!

  • abrcromben Nov 17, 2011

    very cool!

  • Jenb64 Nov 16, 2011

    They are opening another store in Apex soon, too. At US 64 and Salem Street.