Two classes at USC Union raised more than $4,000 for The Walk to End Alzheimer’s held Sept. 17 at Wofford College.
During the spring semester of 2010, USC Union Director of Financial Aid and University 101 Instructor Bobby Holcombe read that The Alzheimer’s Association opened an office in Union at 103 West Main St. in the Career Start/SC Helps building and had begun to make a presence — and a difference — in Union County for those affected by the disease. Holcombe said he personally knows the financial and emotional effect Alzheimer’s disease has on the individual and caretakers — most of whom are family members — as his father suffers from the disease.
Holcombe asked Alzheimer’s Association program director Joyce Finkle to speak to his University 101 classes during the spring semester. Finkle visits Union County the fourth Friday of every month with hopes of assisting victims, families and caretakers.
Holcombe said he was startled by the statistics Finkle presented in the class. The most recent information available from the South Carolina Alzheimer’s Disease Registry from Jan. 1, 2007 states that 614 people in Union County were reported with Alzheimer’s or a dementia-related sickness.
“My initial thought was, ‘Those stats are four years old,’” Holcombe said. “Some of those people are no longer with us, but the numbers have grown by leaps and bounds since 2007. In addition, there are those who are sick but not reported.
“Regardless, 614 people is basically the entire population of Lockhart,” he pointed out. “This is an extremely serious problem and it needs to be brought to surface.”
In addition to various guest speakers, University 101 curriculum includes a community service project each semester. Holcombe presented his fall 2011 class with the option of participating in The Walk to End Alzheimer’s and challenged students to raise a minimum of $100 each to receive a t-shirt and extra credit in his class. A total of 37 students — and Holcombe — accepted the challenge.
The goal was $3,800, but Holcombe said he believed $4,000 was achievable. He encouraged the students to raise as much money as possible and participate in the walk at Wofford College on Sept. 17.
“Not only was this a community service project and a chance to receive extra credit in class, it was viewed as an opportunity to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s with hopes that the next generation will not have to suffer as either a patient, family member or caretaker,” Holcombe said.
Both classes raised a combined total of $4,378.91.
USC Union Campus Dean Dr. Stephen Lowe expressed his support for the Alzheimer’s Project.
“This project represents USC Union’s growing and ongoing commitment to public service,” said Lowe. “Bobby Holcombe and his students represent the dedication of our students, faculty and staff to the larger community. They are to be commended for their role in the Alzheimer’s Walk.”
Holcombe plans for his future classes to continue to support this cause, and donations are still being accepted for this year’s challenge through November. Anyone who would like to contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association and support USC Union University 101 team is encouraged to call Joyce Finkle at (864) 542-9998 or 1-800-272-3900 to set up an appointment.