The Alzheimer’s Association recently announced that due to guidance from local public health agencies regarding COVID-19, the 2020 RivALZ- Blondes vs. Brunettes Raleigh (RivALZ Raleigh) flag football game fundraiser originally planned for June 13, but has been rescheduled for October 3.
But that’s not halting Tamara Friend, member of the RivALZ Raleigh planning committee, who has been playing in the annual flag football game for 9 years. Her sister, playing the game in DC at the time, discovered Raleigh’s local team and suggested she get involved. While she started to connect with other young professionals with a passion for athletics, Tamara has grown her passion to fight for a world without Alzheimer’s disease.
“My favorite moment on game day is when I first get out to the field, see the steam rising from the field, the grass is wet, and you know that in just one hour the stands will be filled with screaming fans”
The RivALZ Raleigh game has evolved over the years with Tamara in leadership as well. What started as a small group of women is now an 80+ person crowd that can’t always fit on their practice field!
Individual players raise money with their friends and family, and each team hosts fundraisers throughout the year to continue the rivalry. Tamara recalls that her first year playing, they raised a total of $4,700. This year’s team goal is to raise $183,000. All funds raised from this game go to supporting the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission, supporting education programming, research, advocacy efforts, support groups and much more.
Tamara finds that recruiting new players is simple. “Want to play football for a good cause? Yea! Let’s do it!” she laughs.
Game day fans are no different. Tamara is surprised every year at the number of folks that show up to games. She is even starting to see community members come out — those that have no personal connection to a player. This aspect of the game has really inspired Tamara in the last few years.
Tamara lost her great-grandmother to dementia before she really knew what this meant. Her family weathered this disease through community support, not realizing the Alzheimer’s Association was around to help. Tamara’s mission now is to reach out to historically under-served communities to teach them about what the Association offers—that they’re not alone in this fight. Tamara is proud of the connections she has made through this experience, and is happy to connect families in need with local resources.
The Alzheimer’s Association RivALZ is a volunteer- driven event that engages young professionals in friendly but fierce flag football games around the country. The event brings together two teams of young professional women (and men) that are organized around age-old rivalries– East vs. West, Blondes vs. Brunettes, City vs. Suburbs- to tackle Alzheimer’s disease, the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. The two teams aim to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among a new generation.
Join a RivALZ team
Due to this extended timeline, there is still a chance for new players to join in the fun! Recruitment for players and coaches is open until July 17. Players are required to participate in practices leading up to game day. Veteran players must meet a $750 fundraising minimum. New recruits and rookies must meet a $500 fundraising minimum. Funds raised will benefit the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Join us on game day!
This year’s game and fundraiser will take place from (10 a.m. to Noon) at NCSU Method Road Complex, located at 3081 Ligon Street in Raleigh. Game day tickets are $20 a person and can be purchased through an online donation in honor of a favorite player.
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RivAlz- Blondes Vs. Brunettes Raleigh