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Westport Friends Rally for an Alzheimer's Cure

Staples High School friends Gwen Beal, Maddy Rozynek and Jamie Yarmoff were brought together by their love for theater. But their love for their grandparents is what got them to join forces to help find a cure for Alzheimer's disease.

The girls, members of the Staples Players, recently discovered each has a grandparent with Alzheimer's. That's why they are hosting a benefit walkathon for a cure Sunday.

"It was around my birthday in April, and I remembered how my grandma used to visit us at special times of the year — she can't anymore because of her Alzheimer's and it made me upset," said Maddy, a freshman. "I decided that I was going to do something about this disease, and I was so excited about it, that I told my good friend Jamie."

That's when Maddy found out that Jamie also had a grandparent with Alzheimer's. Together, the girls dreamed up the idea of a walkathon. "Jamie also knew that Gwen [a junior] had a grandparent with Alzheimer's and asked her to join us," Maddy added. "So we all came together and started planning."

The walkathon will take place Sunday at the track behind Saugatuck Elementary School from 8 a.m. to noon. The event will include a bake sale and raffle prizes, including Mets tickets, a sailboat cruise, a Tempur-Pedic neck pillow and a gym membership to Intensity.

All proceeds will be donated to Alzheimer's Association. The girls originally set out to raise $1,000 but have already surpassed that. "Our new goal is $5,000," said Jamie, a junior. "We are so grateful for those who have already donated and those who will."

If you'd like to participate in the walk, you can register the day of the event at the track or by contacting Jamie at jamieyarmoff@gmail.com to receive a registration form or to make a donation. There's a $5 registration fee, which also gets walkers a T-shirt.

The girls said they are hoping to make the walkathon an annual event and plan to expand it in the future. "It's so important to us that we raise as much awareness and support for Alzheimer's as possible," Jamie said.

Do you know a student or group of students in Westport's striving to make a positive difference? If so, we'd love to tell the community about them! Email reporter Vanessa at vinzitari@thedailywestport.com with details.

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