By: Caitie Stehling, PharmD Candidate c/o 2015
St. John’s University is grounded in its Catholic, Vincentian, and Metropolitan mission. Students from all different colleges take pride in being able to give back to society. This year, Phi Lambda Sigma, the Pharmacy Leadership Society (PLS), participated in the Alzheimer’s Walk at Corona Park in Queens.
As pharmacy students, it is wonderful to be able to get involved in an event that directly relates to our major. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is commonly confused with dementia. In truth, it is one of the numerous forms of dementia. Dementia is the general term that describes when mental health and ability declines enough that it impacts daily living. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, AD is the most common form of dementia and it accounts for more than 60% of cases. It is known that Alzheimer’s attacks the brain, yet specifics of the exact cause remain unclear.1 AD also presents differently in each person. Common symptoms include disorientation, mood changes, unfounded suspicions about people they know (family, friends, caregivers, etc), and impacted mobility. The National Institute of Aging states that the most common symptom is the inability to retain newly learned information. It is a common misconception that forgetfulness is a normal part of the aging process. It is important for people to be aware that this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s.2
PLS and St. John’s University raised over $400 dollars and awareness for this disease. PLS President, Sean Caltabiano, and Vice President, Caitie Stehling, headed the student team. Dr. Judith Beizer, a clinical faculty member who specializes in Geriatrics was also in attendance. Other faculty members who participated included Dr. Olga Hilas, Dr. Michelle Pisano, Dr. Nissa Mazzola, and Dr. Danielle Ezzo. Students, faculty, and the general public were able to select flowers to walk with to show different levels of support. Yellow flowers showed general support for the cure, orange represented knowing someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, purple was for those who had lost a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s, and blue was carried by those who were suffering from AD themselves. While the blue flowers were the least common, they inspired the most hope.
It was a pleasure to be able to participate in this event for the first time. PLS is looking forward to having it be one of our annual events.
- Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Association. Website: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_1973.asp Accessed January 20, 2014.
- Inside the Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of Alzheimer’s Disease. The National Institute on Aging, Website: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/alzheimers-disease-video. Accessed January 20, 2014.