Students donate $7000 for Alzheimer's research

Alzheimer’s research got a $7,000 boost thanks to Whittier students who hosted a community educational event to raise money and awareness. The students, who study Allied Health, Business and Marketing and Culinary Arts, dropped off a check earlier this month to doctors at The Center for Alzheimer’s Research & Treatment at Brigham and Women’s/MGH Hospital.

“You are rockstars,” said Dr. Dorene Rentz, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “We’re overwhelmed with your enthusiasm for something that will not impact you for many years to come, hopefully not ever.” The money will be used to pay for transportation for those who volunteer to participate in research from underserved communities, she said. Securing volunteers for research is one of the hospital’s biggest challenges.

“We are very grateful and inspired by the funds raised by The Whittier Tech students to help support our mission,” said Dr. Gad Marshall, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School & Treatment and Associate Medical Director of Clinical Trials at the Center for Alzheimer Research at Brigham and Women's Hospital/MGH.

In addition to the fundraising, three students in Allied Health also designed and implemented a Music and Memory Program to benefit dementia patients in nursing homes. With the addition of the education and fundraising event, the project won a gold medal at the SkillsUSA state competition and will be featured at the national contest in June.

“The Whittier Tech students are helping to change the course of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Lenore Jackson-Pope, Co-Director of Primary Care Outreach, Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital. “The second largest barrier to research, after funding, is having enough participants in studies. The staff and participants at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment are extremely appreciative of their partnership,” she said.

The students will be featured in the hospital’s publication. They are: Allied Health students: Senior Allasandra Thompson of Haverhill, Sophomore Vitoria Paiva of Merrimac and Senior Larissa Havey of Amesbury, Marketing and Business students: Senior Josmell Ramos, Juniors Halie Alsariba, Meghan Jegorow, all of Haverhill; Culinary Arts Students: Juniors Katie Costa, Khloe Vega and Sydney Stewart, all of Haverhill.

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Whittier Tech