BvB Dallas scores in fight against Alzheimer’s disease

The BvB Dallas team celebrates with their Dallas beneficiaries, including UTSW BvB Fellow Christian LoBue (third from left) and Dr. Laura Lacritz (fourth from left).

By Sharon Reynolds 

Erin Finegold White will never forget the pain of watching her beloved grandmother’s life fade away due to Alzheimer’s disease. With each forgotten face and every silent moment, she and her family experienced a piercing sense of loss and loneliness.

Her grandmother succumbed to the disease on Mother’s Day in 2008. Mrs. Finegold White was passionate about honoring her grandmother, as well as her grandfather who was his wife’s sole caregiver throughout her decade-long battle with the disease. As the family gathered following her funeral, Mrs. Finegold White was inspired to found a young professional philanthropic group dedicated to raising awareness, funds, and support to end Alzheimer’s disease. That day, BvB Dallas came to life as an annual football game between blond and brunette women who shared a commitment to doing whatever they could to end Alzheimer’s disease.

A few months later, in August 2008, about 400 people gathered for the first annual BvB Dallas Powder-Puff Football Game held in Uptown. Since then, BvB Dallas has raised more than $3 million and recruited over 1,000 volunteers who either play, coach, or perform vital roles on the sidelines and in the stands. Each player and coach raises $1,250, and spectators pay a $25 entrance fee – all to aid BvB Dallas beneficiaries.

“This year’s 10th annual event was held at the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park with 200 participants and about 4,000 fans,” said Mrs. Finegold White. “Participants have acted as primary caregivers, supporters, and advocates in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and are passionate about the cause. The girls of Team Blonde and Team Brunette are tough and competitive and get out there to win. It’s a real football game and a great event!”

BvB Dallas selected UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute as one of its North Texas beneficiaries, and presented the second of four annual gifts of $65,000 to support the UTSW BvB Dallas Alzheimer’s Disease Neuropsychology Fellowship.

“Through the BvB gift, we have developed a unique Alzheimer’s disease-focused neuropsychology postdoctoral fellowship and have selected Dr. Christian LoBue as our first fellow,” said Dr. Laura Lacritz, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern. “This gift enables clinical and research training opportunities that otherwise would not be possible, while also offering more clinical services to individuals with suspected dementia and furthering research related to risk factors for the development of dementia.”

Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, said: “We are grateful to BvB Dallas for their commitment and support. Their generosity funds fellowships that expand clinical and research training opportunities for physicians and scientists dedicated to furthering our understanding – and ultimate conquest - of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ten years ago, Dallas became the third city behind Washington, D.C., and Houston to hold BvB fundraising events to support Alzheimer’s disease research. Today there are about 40 cities with similar organizations supporting the cause. Mrs. Finegold White is hopeful that there will be no need for BvB Dallas in the future.

“Our event is fun, but it would be better to have a cure,” she said. “My hope is that we won’t need to play this game for much longer.”
Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.