Cal to Raise Awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease Saturday
BERKELEY – Cal’s Pac-12 home opener against Colorado this Saturday will be the first ever collegiate football game devoted to raising awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. PT. Cal players will wear special #ENDALZ patches for this game only, while coaches and players will sport purple Alzheimer’s Association wristbands. Other activities scheduled to take place at Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium include …
► First 1,000 Cal students in the student section receive “Cal Fights ALZ” t-shirts
► #ENDALZ eye black patches for Cal students in student section while supplies last
► Fans can pick up same purple wristbands being worn by players and coaches at Gates 1-7 while supplies last
San Francisco Alzheimer’s Association employee, Walk to End Alzheimer’s project lead and UC Berkeley alum Ericka Smith (’95) will serve as the game’s honorary captain and be recognized for dedicating her life and raising over $250,000 for research on the disease.
UC Berkeley professor Dr. Mark D'Esposito, M.D. (Neuroscience and Psychology), who works with other faculty on campus currently doing research on Alzheimer’s disease, will also be honored on the field. D’Esposito is representing a group of UC Berkeley faculty with backgrounds in biology, physical sciences and engineering who work together to advance our understanding of human aging and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
The event has special significance to Cal head coach Sonny Dykes and his wife Kate, who was instrumental in the planning of Saturday’s awareness event. Sonny lost his mother, Sharon, to Alzheimer’s disease in November of 2010.
“Kate and I decided that we wanted to try to do something to honor my mother after she lost a lengthy fight with Alzheimer’s about four years ago,” Sonny said. “We saw this as an opportunity to raise awareness about a disease that we believe strongly is underfunded and needs more attention. This is a way to get this dreadful disease more attention and to try to raise awareness and money.”
“The motivation behind this was the loss of Sonny’s mother,” Kate said. “She left such an incredible legacy for me to follow as a mother and a coach’s wife. This is my way to fight for her since she can’t fight anymore. For us to raise awareness is so important. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and there’s not enough funding to support the research we need to hopefully someday find a cure. When people see purple we need them to think Alzheimer’s and if we can do that we’ve really raised the awareness we need for people to help in the fight.”For more information about Alzheimer’s Disease, visit alz.org.