Preston Coghill ~ Love, Hope & Inspiration
Preston Coghill's biography proudly professes that from his earliest childhood memories he was always drawn to unique designs and creations that blended color, style and creativity, and that he was destined to express his creative ideas through food and flowers.
So when he came of age to do so, he set out on a mission to create an environment that would bring his interest, talent and passion together in a way that would be rewarding for him and most memorable for any customer or client looking for a unique flair for their special occasion.
A graduate of Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, Preston embarked on a creative entrepreneurial journey after graduating with the opening of his Enchanted Banquet and Special Event Company.
This venture allowed him to nurture both his culinary and floral design talents into eye-catching wedding cakes and floral arrangements in the Raleigh, North Carolina area called The Triangle.
His work caught the attention of many governmental agencies and celebrities such as Gospel greats, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Pastor John P. Keys and R&B icons, Patty LaBelle and Gladys Knight which eventually led him from North Carolina to the bright lights of Las Vegas.
As an accomplished chef and floral designer, Preston catered parties for some of the world's biggest entertainers and could have easily remained in Las Vegas where he successfully launched a new culinary arts and floral design business called, Coghill Events, LLC.
Preston was now catering for some of the world's most famous entertainers at some of Las Vegas' big name hotels and in various cities around the country.
But for Preston, a man from the South and raised with Christian values, his heart would forever be touched by the work he did at a retirement home in North Carolina where an incident occurred that would change his career path forever.
The retirement home had reached out to one of its resident's son to inform him that his parent had become very frail with Alzheimer's and might not live for very much longer.
The son, who was on vacation at the time, requested to not be disturbed again until his parent had passed a way. A shocking and upsetting response. How could anyone respond in that way about a dying parent.
The impact of this incident at the retirement home was so profoundly disturbing to Preston to where he knew then he needed to do something. He needed to be an advocate somehow for caretakers and those with Alzheimer's and related diseases. A disease that now effects one out of every ten adults aged 65 or older. And for which the diagnosis is even higher for African Americans.
More and more people are dealing with a parent, a loved one, or relative with Alzheimer's or Dementia. And for those who become caretakers, the disease can be overwhelming.
It is estimated that there are approximately 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer's disease or a related form of dementia. In the U.S., an estimated 5.5 million people of all ages have Alzheimer's disease.
How to deal and care for a loved one suffering from this disease becomes a daunting challenge. Many times where to get help and find support is uncertain. And the problems of 24 hour care without medical coverage can stifle the will to fight for someone who suffers with these diseases for many years.
Preston wants to empower people to first know that they are not alone in their journey with Alzheimer's and Dementia. He determined that one of the best ways he could do this, was to create a play that would be entertaining, uplifting and informative.
The play Preston created is called, "Oldtimers" The Musical, and it is a tour de force, written with great passion for those who deal with the disease on a daily basis, and it is his desire to have the play tour the country and eventually tour internationally.
By partnering with local and national health organizations, churches, and philanthropists, Preston believes that this play can be a portal to more awareness for love, hope and inspiration surrounding the despair of Alzheimer's and Dementia.
I caught up with Preston recently to discuss his venture with, "OLDTIMERS" The Musical.
Q&A with Preston Coghill
Thank you Preston for this interview allowing readers to learn more about you and what you are doing with your play, "OLDTIMERS" The Musical.
Q) The tagline on your website reads, "The Journey of Believing the Purpose". Tell us what that means for you and how it has impacted your career in the culinary arts, floral designs and with your writing?
A) In this life I call Journey, we have our own path to follow. Most of those paths fall in line mediocre and the macabre. With the hustle and bustle of life most people don’t realize their true potential, their purpose. My tagline represents a rebirth, it represents people realizing their purpose and believing that they are meant to do more than go to work, pay bills and die. The impact it had on my own life has been phenomenal. I’ve been open to new experiences and people that believe in me and what I can accomplish in all aspects of my life. Life is a Journey and we must understand that life is what we make of it and we must understand that when it is all over, the question is. What did I do with my life that impacted someone else life? Did I show love with the talents and gifts that GOD has given me? How can I make a difference in someone life?
Q) I read in your bio that at an early age you were drawn to unique designs and creations that blended color. Give us some examples of this and how old were you?
A) At the age of 5, I loved the kitchen. Long story short. I would sit on what they called a stoop in my grandmother kitchen and watch her cook. She was an amazing cook, but she didn’t want me in the kitchen while she cooked. She used to tell me to stay out of the kitchen and look at me now. I am a Chef by trade. As far as colors, I love colors and love the touch of fabrics and love to blend fabrics together to make unique designs. I’ve always seen things with a different eye. I would sit and spend hours creating in my head and then eventually I would execute those dreams into reality. Once in high school I didn’t know what path I was going to take because I was talented in so many areas. It was a difficult decision. I took a home economics class. I did very well in that class. I was able to cook and sew. At the time my teacher was Ms. Judy Smith. I credit her for helping me make a decision that would carry me through life. I could do both.
Q) You grew up in North Carolina - what was life like for you there, and when did you leave for the bright lights of Las Vegas?
A) I was born in Greenville, NC but spent most of my life in Raleigh, NC. After high school I left for college, Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. After attending college, I moved back to Raleigh and worked for the Radisson Hotel as a Pastry Chef. Soon after that I decided that I would start my own business. After 10 years operation, I came down with Bells Palsy, where one side of my face went paralyzed. I knew I needed a change. My grandparents lived in Las Vegas. They asked me if I would like to come and visit Las Vegas and I said yes. They thought I was coming to visit but I knew I was going to stay. The first night in Las Vegas my grandmother ask me to go play bingo with her. She loved Bingo. I hit the jackpot for $10,000. After moving to Las Vegas with $137.42 in my pocket my life was changed forever.
Q) What culinary school did you go to, and what came first for you in your career, being a chef or designing floral arrangements?
A) I attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence RI, where I learned the basics of cooking. My cooking experiences came from my mother, grandmother and other Chefs I worked with throughout my career. Floral design was a gift from GOD. It is what I consider my true talent and gift. I love coordinating colors and blends of colors. When I got to Vegas, my first job was working in a flower shop at Nellis Airforce Base in Las Vegas. It was the beginning of my career for being a designer.
Q) If I were to give you a title for the work that you do, like - Preston Coghill, Visual Artist, what would that title be, or what is that title?
A) The title that I feel most fits me is Visionary. I have many skills and talents. I never rely solely on one skill when focusing on a project. I call on past experience to make the most stunning creations I can.
Q) Your culinary skills and floral designs have allowed you to have a pretty fascinating career. You became a celebrity chef/designer in Las Vegas. How did that come about for you and who have been some of your clients?
A) Wow, I have had the opportunity to work for some of the greatest artists such as Gospel Artist, Pastor John Pee Kee, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, Celine Dion, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Kelly Price and many more. I have designed for major organizations and corporations throughout the hotels. They are all listed in my bio…
Q) What has been the oddest request you have ever received from a celebrity client with a floral design or cuisine request?
A) I haven’t had the oddest request from a celebrity client I couldn’t fulfill.
Q) One would think, living and working in a place like Las Vegas, you would have found your life's work there, but you decided at some point to move back home to North Carolina. What prompted you to return home?
A) You know when God want you to move and you don’t he makes the things around you very uncomfortable. Just as I had moved to Las Vegas for a change he called me back to North Carolina to use my newfound experience and talent to affect the community where I was born and raised. I hit a plateau in Las Vegas and finally knew it was time to come home to make a different. I’m overjoyed that I made that decision. My experiences in North Carolina gave me the desire to write about the experience I had at the nursing home I was working as a Chef. I have written a stage play called “OLDTIMERS” The Musical and the story is based off a true story about a family dealing with the affects of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Q) You are also a writer, when did you discover a passion for writing stage plays, and what is your current play about?
A) Writing is one of the talents I picked up during my time in Las Vegas. I discovered it when I co-founded an organization that would help serve those in low income communities and give them a sense of purpose and belonging. Having the experience of seeing a Broadway style show within the community. The show I’m currently doing is about Alzheimer’s and the affect it has not only on the person diagnosed but what their family members go through. This play explores the good and bad sides of what can happen to the people we love. This can affect anyone.
Q) What is your goal for the play and what is the next step for you with it?
A) My goal for this play would be to bring more awareness to not just the diseases but to the fact that a lot of people are abandoned in these retirement homes and forgotten about. Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents. The people that raised you and made you who you are today are tossed to the side and deemed a burden. It’s disgraceful and it speaks volume about who we are as a society. So, my goal is for people to realize that they deserve to be loved and cared for regardless of their mental state and my next step is to take this across the country and spread this message of love, because that’s what it really is.
Q) Where do you see yourself in the next five years with your career endeavors Preston?
A) Within the next five years I see myself traveling with this production and encouraging people that the disease doesn’t have to be as bad as it seems. Show love while you have them as part of your life. Educating and showing people how to reach their potential in life and know their true purpose in life. Motivate them that they can do all things if you know your purpose.
Q) What would your advice be to any young person, maybe in high school, thinking of pursuing a career like the one you have in the culinary arts, floral designs or even writing?
A) If you have a passion and a purpose, the sky is the limit if you want it… Take life for what it is and enjoy. If opportunity reveals itself to you, take it and see where it leads you. There is a reason for why opportunity showed up. “THE JOURNEY OF BELIEVING THE PURPOSE” ENJOY LIFE…
Q) How can people find you on social media Preston, and if someone wanted to hire you, what's the best way they can reach you?
A) I’m on face book as The LavenderRose or I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing more about your great works in the coming years.
"OLDTIMERS" The Musical Stage Performance Photo Gallery
"OLDTIMERS" The Musical Promo & Testimonial
Ten Alzheimer's & Dementia Facts
f the latest facts about Alzheimer’s that A Place for Mom readers will want to know.
1. Half of adults aged 85 and over have Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Facts and Figures report, an estimated 45% of American seniors 85 and older suffer from Alzheimer’s, and 1 in 10 people aged 65 and over (10%) has Alzheimer’s disease. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
2. More than half of the 5.4 million Americans with the disease may not know they have it.
In part because of the difficulty with detecting early-stage Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment (MCI), many of those with the disease remain undiagnosed. With research and time, our ability to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s continues to improve, though it will increase the overall number of people known to have the disease.
3. More women have Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women. However, it is important to note that this does not mean there is a gender-based predisposition for the disease; the primary reason for this statistic is that women generally live longer than men.
4. Symptoms of the disease can develop in people as young as age 30.
We may think of Alzheimer’s as a disease of the elderly, but up to 5% of Americans with Alzheimer’s (around 200,000) have the early-onset variety, which can start to show symptoms as early as one’s 30s. Though the cause still isn’t well understood, some of these cases have a genetic component.
5. The incidence of Alzheimer’s will increase to every 33 seconds by 2050.
The rate at which Alzheimer’s occurs — every 65 seconds in the U.S. — is projected to double by 2050 because of the growing population of people over age 65. The number of people who live into their 80s and 90s is also expected to grow, and the likelihood of Alzheimer’s increases with more advanced age.
6. The disease is the 6th-leading cause of death in the U.S.
“Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death as the populations of the U.S. and other countries age,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. In part, this is because we are experiencing more success in reducing the rate of death from other causes such as heart disease, while the rate of death from Alzheimer’s continues to increase.
7. There are over 16 million American caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Family caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients provide a whopping 80% of the care at home, while a mere 10% of seniors receive all their care from paid health professionals. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most (70%) of those caregivers are women.
8. There is an increased likelihood of depression, emotional stress and financial problems among caregivers for those with the disease.
The communication difficulties and personality changes of Alzheimer’s can place an incredible strain on caregivers. “The close relationship between the caregiver and the impaired person — a relationship involving shared emotions, experiences and memories — may particularly place caregivers at risk for psychological and physical illness,” reports the Alzheimer’s Association. Social and therapeutic support are shown to reduce this risk.
9. The total cost of health and long-term care services for Alzheimer’s is $277 billion.
Over $102 billion of that amount was paid out of pocket. About $175 billion, or roughly 70%, was paid by Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for those Medicare beneficiaries who have very low assets and income but who need long-term care or skilled nursing.
10. There are an estimated 800,000 Americans with the disease living alone.
For all of the Alzheimer’s sufferers who are receiving support from family caregivers or who are living in an Alzheimer’s or dementia care community, as many as 15% of people with the disease still live alone. Many of those have no identified caregiver, a situation which puts them at greater risk of medical emergencies, poor self-care, social isolation and a range of other issues.
Where You Can Get Help For A Loved One With Alzheimer's
- Alzheimer's Help & Support | Alzheimer's Association
Alzheimer's and dementia help and support – find information and resources for those living with or caring for someone with Alzheimer's or other dementias.
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Life is a circle, and just as our parents gave us life, we should give them sustained life when the time comes, for one day, we'll need that too."— Preston Coghill