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Spirit Week Supporting Alzheimer’s

PRIYA WHITLEY

     Grades clashing, students yelling, colors poured all over the floors. “It’s Spirit Week!” All grades battling to be the winner, but a truce is called on one occasion: Cause Day.

     “Cause Day brings our school together as one,” said Stephanie Jenkins, co-director of the full senate. In previous years, causes were Vikes for Vets, Hurricane Relief, and suicide prevention. T-shirt sales and the dollar drive brought in over $3,000 for suicide prevention organizations. During the fundraiser for Hurricane Relief, 93% of the student body participated in fundraising.

     This year the senate looked for another strong cause to support. After brainstorming, the decision was made: Alzheimer’s is the cause for 2019. This year, Senate hopes to surpass the past years in both money raised and participation.

     “Even though most of us won’t be exposed to Alzheimer’s until we are older, it’s our job to try and help find a cure for the disease,” said sophomore Ritisha Ande. Diseases affecting the elderly are often an overlooked issue in our school. However, students may not be aware that their peers may be deeply affected by this disease; a parent or grandparent may have Alzheimer’s. 

     Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes a gradual decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills. Major symptoms include memory loss and changes in mood and personality. Alzheimer’s normally affects those over the age of 65 and is not a normal part of aging. Currently there is no cure, but treatments such as cholinesterase inhibitors, cognitive training, and immunization and drug therapies are in place as research continues. 

     “I recall going to church and seeing my close friend hug me and remember who I was, but had forgotten my name. His wife had later told me he would leave the house and just walk into traffic. It was sad to see such an intelligent person reduced to that state,” said Dr. Dhillon,  Ph.D. in Botany. Alzheimer’s is mentally and physically exhausting for not only the patient, but also their family and caregiver. Families need the support of their community in caring for their loved one. They can receive support from their local Alzheimer’s chapter at www.alz.org.

     “I know this disease causes a greater impact on the family than anything because they can’t do anything to save their loved one as they watch them slip away,” said Sophia Gannoe, president of the sophomore class. Alzheimer’s chips away at a person’s personality and their ability to live productively. EL hopes to strengthen support through donations and awareness of this devastating disease during Spirit Week. To do this, students can purchase t-shirts from the Print Shop, and money will go towards the local Alzheimer’s chapter in New London County.

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