By Hudson S. Tyler, Alzheimer’s Association staff
Sigma Kappa brings women together through lifelong opportunities for social, intellectual and spiritual development. Members regularly volunteer while they are in college. This mission also goes beyond graduation. Sorority alumnae bring their values for personal growth, friendship, service and loyalty to community service later in life.
For 38 years, the Sigma Kappa Sorority puts forward their wild purple violet to the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association®. The sorority is a Diamond Team for the 2021 event. Fundraising contributes to care and support programs, raising awareness and funding new disease research.
This year, chapter alumnae Karen Greene, Danette VanDomelen and Amanda Gamble are preparing for local Walk events. The Oregon and Washington State Sigma Kappa Alumnae chapters are mobilizing with a fundraising challenge. Their goal: raise $10,000. Each state chapter will be “competing” to reach $5,000.
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, Meals on Wheels or Soldier’s Angels, they are travelling, boating, hiking or working on their house. Karen first got involved with the Alzheimer’s cause through Sigma Kappa and their focus on philanthropic gerontology.
Karen has a family touch to the disease. Her husband’s mother, Marty, passed due to dementia; as did Marty’s two brothers. 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. On event day, she is found at the Sigma Kappa booth or building the balloon arch at the finish line.
Danette VanDomelen grew up in northern California. After attending Oregon State University in Corvallis, she moved to Hillsboro. This year, Danette celebrated her 32nd wedding anniversary with her husband, Mark. They have two daughters, both Oregon State University graduates. Together, Danette and Mark work full-time as well as managing their small farm. They raise blueberries, cherries, apples and pears. Danette enjoys gardening, reading, camping and travelling – when there isn’t an irrigation line that needs fixing.
Danette’s Grandmother, Evelyn, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s years ago. It was a long battle. 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 for this year’s event.
Amanda Gamble has 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, from the Washington Chapter. “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 the general education for the public.”
Get involved with Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Join Amanda, Danette and Karen and the hundreds of Sigma Kappa Alumnae across the country by participating in Walk to End Alzheimer’s. 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 at alz.org/walk.