2018-06-01 12:00:00 - Feature
To promote awareness of Alzheimer's disease, Coe College is lighting the Sinclair Auditorium steeple purple, the official color of the Alzheimer's Association, throughout June as part of a campaign to Paint the Town Purple. Doug Wagner, a member of the association's marketing committee proposed the collaboration, and Coe College eagerly accepted. This event marks the first time for such a partnership in lighting the steeple.
"A lot of people drive by Coe, so I'm very grateful that the college was interested in participating," said Janice McInally, chair of the East Central Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer's Association leadership board. She aims "to get the word out because Alzheimer's impacts almost everyone at one point or another. It can't be prevented, cured or slowed. People at Coe are affected by this."
An estimated 5.7 million people are living with Alzheimer's disease. McInally joined the Alzheimer's Association in 2014 because of her personal experience with the disease. Her mother lived with Alzheimer's for the last 10 years of her life.
Floodlights mounted on the tiered portion of the Sinclair Auditorium steeple currently illuminate it nightly. Larry Lee, vice president for facilities and operations at Coe, expects to replace four to six of the existing light fixture's white bulbs with purple tinted bulbs furnished by the Alzheimer's Association. Passersby should notice the purple glow from all sides of the steeple, including from the Coe campus and from First Avenue. And despite the fact that purple is sometimes associated with a rival institution, Coe won't let that stop the college from supporting this important cause.
"The college fully supports this initiative and wants to be a part of raising awareness," Lee said.According to the Alzheimer's Association website, "Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive [impairments]."