Walpole Students Volunteer at Alzheimer’s Walk

Emily Ball and Billy Porter organize student volunteers. (Photo/ Ryan Conlon)

National Honor Society students volunteered at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 16. Senior National Honor Society members Emily Ball and William Porter co-chaired the event.      

“It was really great to volunteer with this amazing organization because my grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and I really felt a personal connection to this issue,” Ball said.  

Walpole students presented other walkers with information about the organization TrialMatch, a research company that matches Alzheimers patients with medical trials. This organization contacted Laura Kay, head of the National Honor Society, to see if any students from Walpole High School wanted to help run the event.

At the event, each Walpole volunteers carried around a clipboard and asked the walkers if they would fill out a form to get put on an email list to be notified of any trials near them.

“It was a great showing of solidarity, not just for the Walpole volunteers, but for the entire Alzheimer’s movement. Here we were, a group of hundreds of strangers from all over the state united for a single cause,” said Porter.

Ball and Porter were in charge of communicating with TrialMatch to get volunteers from Walpole High to come help out at the event. By putting out an announcement on the morning news, Ball and Porter reached NHS students as well as other students to help out at the Walk.

“We got eight volunteers from WHS who were completely ready and willing to work. All of us worked super hard and I think that TrialMatch was happy with our participation. They weren’t expecting so many of us!” said Ball.  

After assisting TrialMatch, the Walpole volunteers were able to participate in the walk as well.

“I talked to some families who lost their loved one to Alzheimer’s and it just opened my eyes to a whole new group of people whose movement is gaining strength. It was all positive,” said senior NHS member Ryan Conlon.

Upon arrival, all participants received a plastic flower. Each different color flower represented each individual’s relationship with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. Yellow represented caring, orange represented support, and purple represented a loss of someone with Alzheimer’s. Each person then wrote a message on their flower and planted it in the flower beds that were set up.   

“I chose a yellow flower because it meant I cared about someone with Alzheimer’s. It was really emotional for me to write a message for my grandmother, but it made me feel very happy to be able to dedicate something to her,” said Ball.

The National Honor Society plans to volunteer at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s again next year.

“I received very positive and gracious feedback about our students and the way they conducted themselves at the event. In fact, the organization hopes we will help out again next year. They represented WHS and NHS wonderfully and made me proud,” said Kay.

 

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