The ladies (and fellas) behind Blondes vs. Brunettes know how to have a good time. There has been everything from packed pool parties to date auctions and happy hours, all in the name of a good cause.
My participation on and off the field has led to new friends and plenty of laughs, but for this week’s column I want to take a moment to focus on something that isn’t so funny — Alzheimer’s disease.
Three-fourths of the people who participate in the football game have experienced the devastating disease firsthand. For me, it was my maternal grandmother, the late Mertie Goss. She survived both breast and pancreatic cancer only to fall victim to the disease in 2010.
Highland Park graduate Greer Fulton, the 2013 event chair, began playing in 2008 because it was a great cause. It wasn’t until her third season that the game and fundraising took on an intimate meaning.
“In the fall of 2010, I was personally affected by the disease when my grandfather was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s,” Fulton said. “The shift from playing for fun to playing for someone was so impactful, and it guided me to be in the role I am now within the organization.”
Since Blondes vs. Brunette’s first kickoff six years ago, the ladies have raised more than $1 million for the Greater Dallas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Fourth-year veteran Catelyn Cappleman’s mother was diagnosed with the disease shortly after her college graduation in 2008.
“I was feeling helpless the first couple years,” Cappleman said. “But Blondes vs. Brunettes provided the perfect outlet for me to fight back against this disease that has stolen so much from my mom and my family.”
The ladies behind the annual football game work tirelessly on and off the field to meet this year’s fundraising goal — $350,000. The Alzheimer’s Association provides families affected by the disease with educational tools and support.
“My family has leaned on the Alzheimer’s Association on many occasions since my mother’s diagnosis,” Cappleman said. “That’s where I first turned after hearing the diagnosis, because I didn’t know the first thing about this disease, its progression, or how to care for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”
Editor’s note: This is the third entry in a three-part series. It originally appeared in the Aug. 2 edition of Park Cities People.