Flag football event raises money, awareness to fight Alzheimer’s

It seemed like there was no love lost between the blondes and brunettes.

Even though they were playing against each other, they were actually working together in an effort to tackle Alzheimer’s disease.

It was part of the 2019 RivALZ event.  Funds raised went toward the Alzheimer’s Association’s care, support and research efforts.

For some participants, that goal meant a lot.

“My grandfather actually has end stage Alzheimer’s right now,” said blondes team member Jill Styskal.  “And he’s had it for 10 years and he’s currently in a care facility just because he doesn’t have anybody who can take care of him.”

This was brunettes team member Larissa Sazama’s third year participating.  She said her uncle and a family friend recently died of Alzheimer’s, but that’s not why she joined.

“I originally joined because I heard flag football and I love football, ” Sazama said.  “But then I actually learned more about Alzheimer’s and what a horrible disease it is and how much it affects women.”

Almost 6 million Americans are living with it, around two–thirds of them women.

But participants said they also want to raise awareness to the caregivers who provide unpaid care to those afflicted.

“Not just the physical care, but the emotional care of…your loved one not knowing who you are is very draining,” Styskal said.

That’s what the two sides are working for: Putting a spotlight on this debilitating disease, while having a little fun.

In the end, the blondes defeated the brunettes.  But everyone who participated came out on top, because they raised around $15,000 so far.  Funding continues through June.

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