Waddling for a Cause: COM staff and students raise over $6K to end Alzheimer's

Posted on: October 16, 2013

Each walker carries a water bottle and a story – a friend, sibling or parent diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia and slipping away.
College of the Mainland student Ashley Hill, of Friendswood, came to Stewart Beach for the Alzheimer's Association's Walk to End Alzheimer's in honor of her grandfather who passed away when she was a child after his diagnosis of dementia and Parkinson's.
"I didn't really know him," she said. "I only knew the shaking hands, confused version of him."
To honor his memory, she listened as her grandmother reminisced about his life and wrote a letter to family and friends explaining her mission to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. After mailing the letter and talking with neighbors, friends and instructors, she raised $665 to support the organization.
Hill is one of the Quack Pack – COM students and staff members who decided to do something about the disease that currently affects more than five million Americans. Clad in red T-shirts emblazoned with "Waddle for a Cause," they converged on the rain-drenched beach to do just that.

Together, the group has raised more than $6,000 for the Alzheimer's Association, the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's and dementia care, support and research. The association also supports a hotline (800-272-3900) to offer information and advice to more than 250,000 callers each year.

The COM SO Psyched student club coordinated campus involvement in the walk after COM President Beth Lewis suggested the event as one of their many community service projects.

“This is a personal cause for me, having lost my father to this cruel disease in 2011. Now I help take care of my mother who was diagnosed with dementia last year,” said COM President Beth Lewis. “If your family hasn’t been affected by Alzheimer’s disease yet, the chances are very good that you will be soon. Today, an American develops Alzheimer's disease every 68 seconds.”

Melanie Lauret, a member of SO Psyched COM student club, is thrilled with the response to the group's call to action. They raised nearly twice the original goal of $2,250.
"We went way over our expectations," she said. "Alzheimer's doesn't get nearly enough publicity. It's a horrible disease. I hope they come up with a cure someday for it."
The campus-wide campaign highlighted the disease’s widespread effects and the aid the Alzheimer’s Association offers.

"I think it is important to help raise awareness, especially for some of the students who are not familiar with the symptoms, factors and longevity of the disease,” said So Psyched club sponsor Lalanya Ennis. “My grandmother suffered with Alzheimer’s for more than 12 years until it eventually took her life. I walked in her memory.”

While the 2013 walk is complete, the journey toward a cure continues. To donate or learn more, visit http://act.alz.org/goto/quackpack.

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