On Saturday, Sept. 19, the SUUnity walk team participated in the Cedar City Alzheimer’s Walk from 10-11 a.m. to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
This is the second year that Iron County has participated in the Alzheimer’s Walk. The Alzheimer’s Association hosts walks all over the country, and when they reached out to Southern Utah University, the Community Engagement Center decided to become one of their sponsors.
According to Pam Branin, the Associate Director of the CEC, SUU participated in the event as a way to offer support for those struggling with the disease and to bring awareness.
“Our center has supported it because we think it’s good to give students the opportunity to be involved in community-wide efforts,” Branin said.
The CEC put together their own team on behalf of SUU, titled SUUnity. Those that wanted to participate could either form a team of their own or join SUUnity.
There was not a minimum or maximum number of participants that could be on a team, but Branin thought it was important to start SUUnity so those that didn’t start a team of their own could still participate.
SUUnity consisted of 20 SUU students and encouraged team members to participate in the walk by using the Walk to End Alzheimer’s app on their phone.
“We understand that students are on a tight budget, but our focus is just for students to pledge to walk and learn about the disease to spread awareness,” Branin said. “If they decide to donate, the amount that would normally be spent on a coffee or soda still helps.”
Last year, an opening ceremony for the event was held in the SUU Ballroom. Because of COVID-19, this year the event opted for a virtual opening ceremony and encouraged students to log in via the app and walk wherever they were.
The event was not exclusive to SUU, and encouraged the entire Iron County community to take part as well by either walking or donating to the cause.
Over the weekend, the event earned $245 of the $2,000 goal set on the SUUnity page. To donate now, visit their page.
This was senior Abi Mickelson’s second year of participating in the event, and she chose to do so because the disease is something that has impacted her personally.
“I chose to participate because in 2007, my mother was told by a doctor that she may experience early onset Alzheimer’s disease because of some trauma she experienced in the workplace,” Michelson said.
Mickelson also expressed that she wanted to gain knowledge of the disease for herself and raise awareness in the community of Cedar City for her mother and people like her.
The CEC offers various programs for kids, including after school sports, swim and dance lessons and storytime. They also form a part of the holiday assistance program and Days for Girls.
On Saturday, Sept. 26 for National Public Lands Day, the CEC will be taking students up to Cedar Breaks to participate in a service project. Lunch and transportation will be provided and the event will run from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on the event, email Branin at email@example.com.
For students that are interested in participating in service events within the community, the CEC sends out weekly emails with information regarding upcoming service opportunities. For more information on the CEC and to sign up for the weekly emails, visit their website.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, visit their official site at www.alz.org.
Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: Abi Mickelson