The fact that UNBSJ doesn’t have an Alzheimer group on campus is not stopping one dedicated student from raising funds to combat this mind-altering disease.
Michael Crate, a third year psychology student at UNBSJ, worked at the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick over the summer. The Alzheimer Society is a group whose goal, according to their website, is to “alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer and related diseases through information, education and support.”
Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. It causes the degeneration of brain cells, which are replaced by irregularly shaped spots (plaques). Symptoms include: confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, trouble with language, long-term memory loss and withdrawal from family and friends. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer disease, it progresses over time and eventually leads to death.
Crate decided to try to raise funds and awareness among students by offering coffee and a chance to chat about the disease. “Coffee Break” is an annual fundraiser in which participants exchange donations for a cup of coffee. “You really see the impact on the community that [Alzheimer disease] is currently having, it’s not just a couple people here and there,” says Crate “about 25 per cent of the general population have someone in their family that [is affected].”
The coffee for this event was donated by the Students’ Representative Council, and the event was held in the Whitebone Lounge the morning of Oct. 9. Crate was present with information and resources available.
The event raised $25.84 for the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick, “It’s not a lot of money, but for students it’s not so much the fundraiser aspect, but the awareness.” says Crate, “because we’re all kind of living our own young lives and a lot of the time we kind of forget about the people before us. We have a responsibility to each other.”
Crate is looking into organizing a partnership with the Seawolves athletics teams to raise funds for Alzheimer disease research with a canteen at the games, proceeds going directly to the Alzheimer Society. “The nice thing is that the money that’s raised here doesn’t go off somewhere else, it all helps the Saint John area,” he says “it helps provide the resources so we can go out into the community and make presentations and do different [things] to help people.”