Special doughnuts to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s

Jon Chesto writes in The Patriot Ledger that many doughnut fans will notice an unusual purple treat on the shelves of a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts shop next week now that a group of more than 20 franchisees are pitching in to help the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The “Purple with a Purpose” doughnuts with white icing and purple sprinkles will be for sale from Sunday through Saturday at nearly 180 Dunkin’ shops to draw attention to the Alzheimer’s Association’s primary color. Pamphlets that highlight the services provided by the nonprofit organization will be handed out all week. The event also coincides with World Alzheimer’s Day on Monday.

Most of the participating shops are in Southeastern Massachusetts. The doughnuts are being made at two baking commissaries – one in Brockton and one in Pembroke – that regularly supply the Dunkin’ shops, franchisee Victor Carvalho said.

Carvalho, who owns a Quincy-based group of 10 Dunkin’ shops with his brother Octavio, took a leadership role in rolling out these doughnuts because of the impact the disease has had on his family. His father suffered from Alzheimer’s before dying nearly two years ago.

“It really got us trying to get involved in bringing more awareness to people,” Carvalho said. “We should try to do what we can to make a difference.”

Carvalho said he hopes that next year, the awareness campaign can be rolled out to the nearly 1,100 Dunkin’ shops in the Greater Boston media market.

Betsy Fitzgerald-Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Massachusetts-New Hampshire chapter, said raising awareness of the disease could spur more donations for research and encourage people who might be affected to seek a medical diagnosis.

She also praised the staff at the Canton headquarters of the Dunkin’ Donuts chain. “They helped bring together the franchisees,” she said. “Without their enthusiasm for this, it couldn’t have happened.”