Tackling Alzheimer’s Disease

My Mom. The reason I participate in Blondes vs. Brunettes.
My Mom. The reason I participate in Blondes vs. Brunettes.

My mom has always loved Christmas, everything about it; the decorations, the cookies, the songs, the Christmas themed sweaters (that I would roll my eyes at), and especially the family time and traditions. She really made the whole season so joyous for all of us with her child-like excitement. So it was heart-breaking when 6 years ago on December 26th, she turned to me and said ‘I can’t wait for Christmas this year.’ We had just celebrated yesterday, but it was clear she had already forgotten about it; she had forgotten about our time together as a family, about the gifts we had given her, and the traditional family dinner we all shared. She was not able to experience the joy that she typically had before Alzheimer’s. I could not manage to tell her that we already celebrated, so I turned away as tears came to my eyes and responded with, ‘I know. I can’t wait either. I love Christmas.’

I wanted her to be able to hold onto that hope and excitement even for just a minute. I was so sad for her and for our family and I’d like… no I need to see a world where conversations like this don’t happen.

Cari MackaySo that is why, this year, I am again participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Blondes vs. Brunettes, a nationwide women’s flag-football league created to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. I am involved in honor of my mother who is slipping away from us and in support of my father who took on the extremely difficult and emotionally challenging job of caregiver for so many years. I am taking on this challenge with the hope that other families will not have to live with Alzheimer’s.

My team and I are training, fundraising, and preparing for game day, but win or lose, our true goal is a world without Alzheimer’s! This event gives me hope and I can’t wait for the game-day! Go BruCrew!

– Cari Mackay, YPAAC Board of Directors Chair

Team Brunettes 2013.
Team Brunettes 2013.

The Brunettes will take on the Blondes this Saturday, June 14th at 11 a.m.
The game is being played at University of Denver Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
To purchase tickets click here.

Don’t Miss the Blondes vs. Brunettes Flag Football Game

The Young Professionals Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado (YPAAC) was established in 2006 to work in conjunction with the Colorado Chapter to raise awareness among local young professionals. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to chair the Board for this group and we have some exciting events planned for this year.  We have a great group on the Board and even more who serve as volunteers on committees and we’re growing.

On Saturday, June 2nd we’ll host the first ever Blondes vs Brunettes: Tackling Alzheimer’s with Serious Altitude Flag Football Game at DU’s Peter Barton Lacrosse field.  Bring your friends and cheer on your favorite team. To purchase tickets, call 303.813.1669 or visit our Web site. We have also some great sponsors including Emich Volkswagon and Emich Chevrolet. Each dealership took on a team so it’s going to be pretty competitive come game day. We’ve all been practicing in addition to raising money but we’re having fun at the same time. That’s what our group is all about; giving back and making a difference while networking and meeting other like-minded professionals under the age of 40.

A few years ago we took over hosting the Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day at the Boulder Reservoir and each year we raise thousands of dollars while increasing awareness for the Association and for the cause.  Join us and more than 800 crazy plungers to ring in the new year!

In addition to these signature events we have a Spring Spruce Up where we landscape and generally “spruce” up a local care community. We know that as Alzheimer’s progresses often families can’t continue to care for a loved one at home so assisted living, retirement facilities and Memory Units often serve as a final home for those with the disease. We think it‘s important to live in a community that’s nice to look at in addition to providing good quality care. If you’d like to learn more and meet a few of us, YPAAC hosts quarterly education and networking happy hours throughout Denver Metro so give me a shout and plan to join us.

All funds raised by YPAAC benefit the programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. This includes education, counseling, a 24/7 Helpline, and support groups as well as research to find better treatments and eventually a cure.

For more information about YPAAC, check out our website, be our fan on Facebook, follow us on twitter or email our Alzheimer’s Association liaison Cailin Branchford at Cailin.branchford@alz.org.

Hope to see you at the BvB game. Go Blondes!

Andrea George
YPAAC Board Chair