On the morning of Saturday, October 20, 2012, members of James Madison's swimming and diving team had the opportunity to participate in the Alzheimer's Associations "Walk to End Alzheimer's", a two-mile walk that took place in downtown Harrisonburg. The event is held every year in over 600 different communities nationwide and is the largest and most successful event when it comes to raising funds for care, support and research regarding the Alzheimer's disease. The walk in Harrisonburg was responsible for earning over $50,000 for research towards the disease.
Weeks before the event took place, participants got together and formed their own teams. As a group, they selected a captain, came up with a name and set a goal of how much money they wanted to raise for the cause. Teams advertised to friends, co-workers and family members about the event and their participation, in hopes to receive donations to help them reach their team goal.
Members of the swimming and diving team had a similar philosophy when it came to fundraising for the occasion. They formed a team that included the entire roster. They promoted the event on the team's Facebook page, as well as reached out to friends and family members seeking support from a motivational and monetary standpoint. As a team they set a goal to raise $300, and by the day of the event they had surpassed that goal by obtaining $685.
It was the team's first time participating in the "Walk to End Alzheimer's" and their first time fundraising to combat Alzheimer's disease. Team co-captains Kimberly Helfrich and Andrea Criscuolo played a significant role in the team's involvement in this event. They both believed the team's efforts were for an extremely worthy cause and that the walk was a great team builder.
"We were searching for a way our team could get involved in the community and give back to Harrisonburg" said Helfrich and Criscuolo. "We researched some walks that were happening soon and decided the 'Walk to End Alzheimer's' would be a great cause and also a good team bonding experience for us. It's unique and special for us because our team has never fundraised for Alzheimer's before and we thought it was a good opportunity to support a different cause."
Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and it troubles the lives of one in every eight older Americans. It is also one of the only leading causes of death that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed down. To learn more about the disease and the Alzheimer's Association visit their homepage. To make a donation to the swimming and diving team's efforts visit their team page on the Alzheimer's Association's website.