The Cure to Alzheimer's Disease

Lauren Kelly

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of the death in the United States. The only one of the top ten that can’t be cured, prevented or event slowed.

As of right now . . .

I was nodding off on the plane after an intensive (but fun!) end of year leadership consultant training in Indianapolis last April.  While fighting to keep my eyes open I caught a glimpse of an interesting magazine that the man next to me was reading.  It was painted with DNA diagrams and scientific jargon.  I chose to be vulnerable and to ask him about it.

As we shared our reasons for travel, I learned that he is a biological engineering professor at Purdue University, and was at that time writing a proposal for the government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease research (note: one of the main philanthropies that the Sigma Kappa Foundation supports is Alzheimer’s Disease Research).

I was ecstatic to learn about his career and passion.  I asked him about a million questions regarding Alzheimer’s (and a few napkins and scratch sheets of paper with cell diagrams on them later – see images below) I learned A LOT about the disease.

He said he knows that they could find the cure for Alzheimer’s disease within ten years, if they had the funding for the needed technology.

What causes? Aggregation of protein structures.

This technology he’s referring to would allow them to look at the cells in live time – right now that is impossible.

I shared with him some of the statistics I know about the Sigma Kappa Foundation and the amount of funds and awareness we have raised as an Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s National Gold Team.

He was floored.

Though he was familiar with the Sigma Kappa Sorority Beta Sigma chapter at Purdue University, he did not realize the efforts that they, and the national organization, have made and are making for Alzheimer’s disease research.

We had a wonderful conversation and both walked away feeling energized and excited.  After exchanging business cards, it is now my hope to get him locally connected with the Beta Sigma chapter.  I explained how they would love to have campus resources, such as himself, attend a chapter meeting and develop a relationship regarding this cause, and also work to help bridge the gap between academia and fraternity/sorority life.

Here the Kappa Upsilon chapter is raising awareness of the Walk in Princeton on October 10. They're selling purple ribbons and collecting footprints to display the steps that The College of New Jersey is making towards finding a cure.

I’m continually amazed when moments like these happen, and I have Sigma Kappa to thank for helping me understand and truly live out the core values: loyalty, friends, personal growth and service.

The Kappa Upsilon chapter also had one of their members, Kandace, offer to host a percentage night at her mom's Rita's Ice. Alzheimer's has directly impacted Kandace's family. We all went to support Kandace, support the cause and eat Italian ice!

We can make steps to change the world.  Right now Sigma Kappa Sorority is making steps all across the country  to END ALZ.  Please, join us in “the [Walk to End Alzheimer’s], the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Association care, support and research programs.”

Together we can END ALZ and change the world.

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