Alumna is active in fight against Alzheimer’s
Augusta, Ga. – “It’s a tsunami waiting to happen,” said Dee Dee Kurilla, a Southern Wesleyan University North Augusta Alum.
Referring to a perfect storm fueled by aging baby boomers and people living longer, Kurilla asserts that the number of victims of Alzheimer’s Disease, an illness already considered the sixth largest cause of death among Americans, is expected to increase.
Kurilla graduated from Southern Wesleyan’s North Augusta location in 2006 with a bachelor of science degree in management. She says that earning a degree opened the door to a rewarding position as director of development for the Augusta Region of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Georgia Chapter, which serves 17 counties in the CSRA.
Kurilla’s previous employer provided support for her to earn a business degree. She chose Southern Wesleyan’s North Augusta location over the option of taking classes online because she wanted more one-on-one interaction with her professors. She said Southern Wesleyan was just the right size and added that the Christian atmosphere helped reaffirm her personal beliefs.
For years, Kurilla took classes off and on, but she’s proud to have finally earned a degree. She contends that, as children grow up and become independent, it’s a great time for the parent to prepare for the exciting next step of earning a degree.
“I really appreciate some of the professors who took their time to help those of us who hadn’t been through school in a long time,” Kurilla said, adding “I really enjoyed the study groups.”
“Dee Dee is a tremendous asset to the Alzheimer's Association and therefore to the community that she serves,” said Dave Houston, vice president of development at the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter. “Not only is she a tremendously dedicated worker, she excels in all of the intangibles that make working with volunteers a rewarding and inspirational experience.” Houston added that he’s also appreciative of Kurilla’s professional training from Southern Wesleyan.
Kurilla is passionate, not only about her Southern Wesleyan experience, but also about her work with the Alzheimer’s Association, providing training and support for families and professionals who work with Alzheimer’s patients and serving as an advocate for them in Washington. “We ask our federal legislators to join a bipartisan Alzheimer’s task force,” said Kurilla, adding that they urge support of the National Institutes of Health to make Alzheimer’s research a top priority.
Kurilla is excited about a new fundraising event taking place across Georgia, which is similar to a popular TV show where contestants dance with celebrities. “Dancing with the Stars of Augusta” will involve 10 local celebrities in a ballroom dancing event where each celebrity will raise $5,000 or more.
“We’re trying to find fun ways for people to get involved,” she said. Recently, Kurilla and a team of volunteers raised more than $96,000 at their signature Walk to End Alzheimer’s and hopes that people will continue to give until the end of the year.
“Funds raised will provide care and support services to the 200,000 residents of Georgia living with Alzheimer’s, while also contributing to advancing critically-needed research,” Kurilla said.