Byram Hills Team Supports Alzheimer’s Walk
By Amanda Boyle
Sept. 28, 2016
The local 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer's occurred at White Plains High School on September 25. The Byram Hills team, led by the Byram Hills Cheerleading teams and the Byram Hills Gaga Club, once again were an active part of the walk, raising $43,043. The goal of the walk is to advance research to treat and prevent Alzheimer's, as well as provide programs and support to those with the disease. Three million Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer's per year, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in our country, and yet, it receives far less federal funding than other diseases that are in the top ten causes of death.
The BHHS Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheerleading teams were stationed at various points on the course to encourage the walkers. Cheer Coach Brittney Mangieri, whose grandmother has been fighting Alzheimer's for several years, said proudly of her teams’ involvement, "For my girls yesterday that were unsure what this event would be, it was extremely eye opening. Many of the girls were touched by the ceremonies, and the amount of participants."
Julianna Segatti, Varsity Cheerleader Captain, said, "The Alzheimer's Walk is always an amazing day for us as a team, coming together to inspire those affected by this terrible disease. The girls always leave feeling a little better, knowing they were able to touch the lives of others through the easy task of cheering and encouraging the walkers, thanking them for supporting the cause. This walk personally means a great deal to a lot of the girls on the team, our coach, and even to me. Many of us know what it's like to have a grandparent or loved one we have lost or who are living with this disease. At the end of the day, it's really just an incredible event that leaves us all feeling strong, united and proud to support this cause."
Cindy Shmerler, a Byram Hills team member and parent, has also been part of the walk for several years. On Facebook, she wrote how Alzheimer's is the "only disease in the top ten that has no prevention, no cure, and no way to stop the progression." She has watched several family members suffer from Alzheimer's. When she first joined the Walk to End Alzheimer's, she was surprised at a "hush-hush attitude" from people with affected family members, "It was as if it was a curse more than an incurable illness." She feels that the attitude has thankfully shifted as people have realized the vast reach of the illness. One of her goals is to continue raising awareness as well as funds for research.
Maria Sanchez, a parent and member of the Byram Hills Team, walked for her fifth year since her mother passed away from Alzheimer's in 2011. She spoke of how "Each donation brings us one step closer to finding a cure.” She encourages community members to join the team for the 2017 walk.
There are Walks to End Alzheimer's all over the country. While most of the 2016 Walks in our area have already passed, there are many still to come in October and November in warmer climates. You can check the Alzheimer's Association's website for any upcoming walks, in 2016 or beyond: act.alz.org/site/