The BvB Dallas amaze others with their dedication, attitude and sweating. Since 2008, they have worked out during summer’s microwave months and held their powder puff football game in August’s sweltering conditions.
The inspiration for these 20- and 30-something gals and guys to break nails, scrape shins and skip summer vacations is the war against Alzheimer’s. It’s a disease that most people associate with seniors, like grandparents. However, that isn’t always the case.
This year on the eve of their game, they held their pre-game dinner at which BvB’ Founder Erin Finegold presented 29-year-old Catelyn Cappleman with the BvB Dallas Caregiver Award. Erin’s words sum up the reason Catelyn was selected:
“In 2008 when we started BvB Dallas, we were 23, carefree and came together for a cause that affects so many of us. We were playing for our grandparents. At the time, Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy was the only 20-something I knew who had a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. And I could not fully realize the enormity of having a parent living with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Fast forward to 2009—we formed our own 501c3, legitimized the game at SMU, recruited more than double the participants and raised more than double the cash. We started dreaming big dreams about where our money was going to be spent. Research was always at the forefront of our minds.
“2010 is where I made a huge mistake. I got scared. I capped the participants a week into registration. We had over 200 people signed-up and I was terrified of the number of type-A women joining the organization.
“On April 12, 2010, I received maybe 20 emails from anxious rookies begging me to let them play. What I didn’t know then, but what I know now, is that rookies are the lifeblood of our organization. Our vets are our foundation, our rock. But rookies, like Shane Hannabury (our MVP) proves tonight, are what keep the engine going—give us inspiration, new ideas, bigger goals.
“The day I read this email, I realized that BvB is not only for the grandparents, but for the parents. And that every rookie should get a chance to play.
“’Hi Erin–My name is Catelyn and I’m interested in the BVB fundraiser. I attended last year and was hoping to join the team this year, but I saw via Facebook everything has filled up. My mom has Alzheimer’s and I’m her caregiver, so this cause certainly hits close to home. Can you let me know if any spots open up, and if there is anything that I can do to help out? I’d really appreciate it.
“’Thanks so much for helping organize this event. It was an absolute success last year! I had a blast and was shocked at how much money was raised!!’
“Now that was a horse of a different color.
“If you have met Catelyn, then you know what an amazing human being she is. She realized something was wrong when her mother got lost on the way to her college graduation. Started taking care of her at 21, had custody battles with family members, consulted with Alzheimer’s caregivers on a course of action and ultimately, decided to move her into a memory care facility. If that’s not hard enough, she had to move her into a second facility when the first one shut down.
“All the while, going to work (kicking ass, by the way), having a social life, getting engaged. And somehow, on top of all of that, she’s made time over the last five years to not only share her story with the BvB community, but fundraise so that the next generation doesn’t feel the burden.
“Catelyn, you are the catalyst for the next generation of BvBers. And you are the reason we play this game.
“And what better way to recognize such a selfless caregiver than to keep our fundraising efforts within the organization.
“So, on behalf of the BvB Dallas Board of Directors, it is my great honor to support you by donating $10,000 to your mother’s care. We are so proud to have you as a member of BvB Dallas and know that your story will continue to inspire BvB participants and beyond for years to come.”
A recap of this year’s BvB Dallas showdown will follow.
* Photos provided by BvB Dallas