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In the U.S., 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and someone contracts the disease every 69 seconds. The disease ranks sixth on the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., but Alzheimer’s is one of the only diseases on that list without preventative measures, a cure, or a treatment to slow its progression.
To help aid in the cure of the disease, Sigma Kappa’s seventh annual Bowling for Memories event was held on Feb. 19 at the ULanes in the Student Activities Center. All of the proceeds will go to benefit Alzheimer’s Research.
Tickets were sold for $5 from a sister or $6 at the door, along with a bake sale and a raffle. During the event, other organizations were also able to rent and sponsor lanes to benefit the cause.
“People were in here the whole time,” Sigma Kappa’s Philanthropy Chair Erin Rocha said. “We probably raised over $2,000.”
Northville sophomore and Sigma Kappa member Rose Shelly knows what it’s like to care for someone with Alzheimer’s and joined Sigma Kappa because the sorority’s philanthropy “really hit home” for her.
Shelly’s great-grandmother Rose Wojcik lived in her house for about three years while battling Alzheimer’s disease, eventually moving to live in her uncle’s house and then a nursing home.
“It was difficult to see that,” Shelly said. “It was difficult to deal with someone who doesn’t know who you are.”
The sorority held a brunch earlier in the day and many of their parents stayed around to participate. However, many other Greeks weren’t able to attend because several organizations have their chapter meetings on Sundays.
Delta Zeta member Krysta Hielscher, whose great-grandmother lived with Alzheimer’s for seven years, made it out to the event just before her meeting started.
“I had a really fun time and I’m glad I was able to come out and support,” Hielscher said. “I know firsthand what Alzheimer’s can do to people so I wanted to give back to a really great cause.”
Recently, Gary Landreth, Ph.D., from the Alzheimer Research Laboratory Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine has made advances in which animals with Alzheimer’s were treated and within three days were showing signs of memory loss reversal.
“They are on the verge of finding something that would be life changing for a lot of people,” Rocha said.
Not only does Sigma Kappa put on Bowling for Memories annually, but last semester they made cards to send to the caretakers of Alzheimer’s patients. It is a difficult task to take care of someone dealing with this disease, so the group just wanted to remind the caregivers that they are appreciated.
Next year, Sigma Kappa plans to throw a Charity Ball or Gala to send even more money toward Alzheimer’s Research.
“We’re looking to rent a nice place, serve dinner, and have a speaker come in to talk about Alzheimer’s,” Rocha said. “Also, maybe try something new and hold an auction at the event.”
While Alzheimer’s Research is the sorority’s main philanthropy, the group also raises money and awareness for Gerontology, Inherit the Earth, and Main Sea Coast Mission.
“Our big goal is to get involved with not only CMU, but with the community of Mt. Pleasant too,” Rocha said.
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