This article was originally published by the Alzheimer’s Association Oregon & Southwest Washington Chapter. It has been adapted for the ALZWA blog.
The Sigma Kappa sorority brings women together through lifelong opportunities for social, intellectual and spiritual development. In college, members regularly volunteer in their community. This mission carries well past graduation, where sorority alumnae bring their values for personal growth, friendship, service and loyalty to new philanthropic activities.
For 38 years, the Sigma Kappa Sorority has supported the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association. The sorority will continue its efforts nationally as a Diamond Team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in 2021. Funds raised will contribute to care and support programs, raising awareness and funding new research.
Serving older adults in Oregon and Washington
This year, Sigma Kappa chapter alumnae like Karen Greene, Danette VanDomelen and Amanda Gamble are excited to participate in an incredible year of fundraising efforts for Walks across the Pacific Northwest. Both Oregon and Washington Sigma Kappa Alumnae chapters have already begun mobilizing their teams. With a goal of $10,000 between two states, each chapter will be competing to raise $5,000 first.
Karen Greene resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband of 29 years, Roger. They are both retired and have a 25-year-old daughter named Katie. When they aren’t volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association or other nonprofits, they are traveling, boating, hiking or working on their house. Karen first got involved with the Alzheimer’s Association cause through Sigma Kappa and their focus on philanthropy and gerontology.
Alzheimer’s runs in Karen’s family, who lost two brothers to complications of dementia. Her husband’s mother, Marty, also passed from dementia. Karen truly understands how challenging this disease is for families. She has been participating in Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the last three years and can often be found at the Sigma Kappa booth or building the balloon arch at the finish line.
Danette VanDomelen grew up in northern California and, after attending Oregon State University in Corvallis, moved to Hillsboro, OR. This year, Danette celebrated her 32 year anniversary with her husband, Mark. They have two daughters, both Oregon State University graduates. Together, Danette and Mark work full-time and manage their small farm: growing blueberries, cherries, apples and pears. Danette enjoys gardening, reading, camping and traveling — when there isn’t an irrigation line that needs fixing.
Danette first experienced Alzheimer’s when her grandmother, Evelyn, was diagnosed. It was a long battle and she wishes that she had known about the available resources of the Alzheimer’s Association. Because of this, Danette volunteers on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Portland marketing committee, to spread awareness to others who are helping their loved ones today.
2020 was Danette’s first year participating in Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She and her family had a small, beautiful virtual walk at a local park. She is thrilled to be able to attend an in-person event this year.
Amanda Gamble, Seattle Sigma Kappa Alumnae Chapter President, shares a personal connection to the disease. Several years ago, she lost her great aunt Marion to Alzheimer’s. Her grandfather was also recently diagnosed. This experience fuels Amanda’s fire for fundraising and she is committed to this cause each year. Ultimately, she hopes to find a cure.
“As collegiate members, we are introduced to the Alzheimer’s Association during our freshman year of college,” shares Amanda. “The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way in raising the money to support the necessary research to find a cure, the outreach programs to assist families impacted by the disease and general education for the public.”
Get Involved in Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Join Amanda, Danette and Karen and the hundreds of other Sigma Kappa Alumnae across the country by participating in Walk to End Alzheimer’s this year. You can join us at your local event or Walk From Home in your neighborhood. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Learn more and register for a Walk near you at alzwa.org/walk.