By Jennifer Goetz
Alzheimer’s: a disease without a cure that 5 million Americans live with, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of the College’s Sigma Kappa sorority this past year, the Alzheimer’s Association will receive over $5,000 for Alzheimer’s research and treatment.
This Sunday, Sept. 18, Sigma Kappa hosted its fifth annual Driving Out Alzheimer’s Car Show, where the campus and Ewing, N.J., community came together to support the cause. The precarious weather turned into a beautiful day after a light drizzle in the morning.
Parking lots 3 and 4 were filled with vintage cars of different models, shapes and colors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“People know more about the event this year,” Sigma Kappa President and senior secondary education and English dual major Courtney Kalafsky said. “It’s been a lot easier to get community involvement.”
Ewing resident Bill Tucker said he was looking for car shows online when he discovered the Driving Out Alzheimer’s event. He brought his magenta 1934 Ford, one of the day’s standouts.
The involvement this year even went beyond the community. Alumna Georgianne Barlow (’76) brought her le mans blue 2007 Corvette Geo 6 from Warwick, N.Y., to attend. Billy and Helana Farley traveled from North Brunswick with their 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302.
“I was looking for car shows and when I found out this was for Alzheimer’s, that was it,” Billy Farley said. Many of the car owners and general attendees had been affected by Alzheimer’s in some capacity.
This year, the car show raised over $3,000 for Alzheimer’s research. The fundraising efforts went beyond the sorority to include other organizations and vendors who attended the event and donated a portion of their proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association.
There were many categories of car awards. Bill Corti took home the award for Best Pre-1960 car, with his 1963 Corvette. Best Post-1960 car was a 2005 Ford Mustang. Bill Farley clinched the award for Best in Show with his 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302, while the Most Memorable award went to Bill Tucker for his 1934 Ford.
The award for Sigma Kappa’s Choice, though, went to Bill Kraft’s 1955 Studebaker.
The annual car show was the largest event for Sigma Kappa’s Ultraviolet Week, during which the sorority held a number of programs to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s.
“I think the response has been really great,” Kalafsky said. “People really come behind the event because everybody knows somebody affected by it, and a lot of campus members appreciate that it’s free to get in. We try to make it as welcoming as possible.”
Sophomore special education major and Ultraviolet Week Chair Julianna Bottiglieri organized and ran all of the week’s events with the help of Claire Achilly, a junior secondary education and math dual major and the vice president of Philanthropic Services. The pair started planning for Sigma Kappa’s Ultraviolet Week as early as August.
The events included a media memory game show, bake sale, beach volley tournament, awareness tabling and a memory chalkboard on which students of the College were invited to write their favorite memories.
“The TCNJ Community is the reason we were able to raise as much money as we were,” Bottiglieri said. “People were so supportive, whether it was coming out to our Media Memory Game Show and participating alongside the contestants or buying one of our adorable elephant ribbon pins. Every little bit of support counted.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the national philanthropy for Sigma Kappa. Many of the sorority’s members here at the College have been impacted by Alzheimer’s in one way or another.
“About a third of our chapter have family members or a close family friend who is affected by Alzheimer’s,” Kalafsky said.
Even those who had not been personally affected were touched by the Ultraviolet Week events.
“When we had our Memories Making their Mark event, a board got filled with memories that people never wanted to forget,” Bottiglieri said. “Thinking about how many people lose the memories of the best days of their life is shocking. It just made me want to work that much harder so no one else has to worry about losing what makes them who they are.”