Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Blondes vs. Brunettes unite to help battle Alzheimer’s

teamimg_blondesThe second annual Blondes vs. Brunettes flag football game will take place on June 15 at 2 p.m. at Cleveland State University’s Krenzler Field.

The event helps raise money to benefit the care, support and research by the Alzheimer’s Association, with last year’s inaugural Cleveland game raising $41,253. Nationally, the organization has raised more than $1.5 million since it started in 2005 with events held in the spring, summer and fall with the support of local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The flag football game works to draw a younger generation into the fight against the disease, which affects an estimated 56,000 people in Northeast Ohio.

Candice Vlcek of Cleveland will be appearing in her second Cleveland Blondes vs. Brunettes game in June and she was kind enough to sit down for a virtual Q&A about the event.

Q: How has Alzheimer’s affected your life?

Candice: Not only has it affected my life, but my family’s life. My Grandmother had Alzheimer’s for about 8 years before she passed away in October of 2011.  But as a family, we all pulled together and took great care of her.

Q: If you could talk to someone who is struggling to deal with a family member with Alzheimer’s, what advice would you give them?

Candice: I would tell them that they aren’t alone and there is plenty of help out there, including several support groups for caregivers. The Cleveland Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offers free support, programs and education. By participating in Blondes vs. Brunettes, we help raise funds to cover these services.

Q: How did you get involved with Blondes vs. Brunettes?

Candice: I heard about it while browsing through ALZ.org. I thought I would give it a shot because it sounded like a great way to be involved with finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Q: What was it like playing in the game last year?

Candice: It was amazing. I went in not knowing a single person and left feeling so lucky to have met so many wonderful men and women. By game day, everyone was really excited to see how everyone’s hard work at practices paid off. Our touchdown dances were a big hit (group celebrations aren’t just allowed, they’re encouraged), and we’ve got a few new tricks up our sleeves this year.

Q: What can fans expect to see during the game? Are the players really into it?

Candice: Fans can expect to have a great time. We’ve got new plans in the works, but you’ll have to come down and check it out. Players are definitely into it. Most of our players and coaches are returning from last year. If you enjoy football, you’ll enjoy the game. We’re not out there just pushing each other around, trying not to break a nail. We run fast, hit hard (whenever legal) and give it 110 percent. Two girls broke bones during last year’s game, just to give you an idea of our level of intensity. Blondes and Brunettes have been battling for centuries. This game is an extension of those battles, but one that allows us to help a great cause at the same time.

Q: Are Blondes really better than Brunettes?

Candice: I would have to say yes. Blondes are going for another victory this year (last year we won, 14-0).  In the end though, we’ve all come together to fight for something we believe in and help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Thanks to Candice for taking the time to talk with us – and good luck against the Brunettes!

For more information on the Blondes vs. Brunettes game, visit the organization’s website.

If you would like to make a donation to the cause, you may do so at Candice’s webpage.

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