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Alzheimer’s event raises $3,000

BY MICHAEL DALE-STEIN | MAY 04, 2009 7:30 AM

While Herky greeted people and music blared at College Green Park, 23 participants — mostly UI students — roamed Iowa City for two-and-a-half hours on May 2, looking for clues at such places as Kinnick Stadium and the Mayflower.

The Quest to Unravel Alzheimer’s Scavenger Hunt asked six teams to find information about the UI campus and its buildings. The effort raised roughly $3,000 for Alzheimer’s research.

UI journalism students and members from the East Central Iowa Chapter of the National Alzheimer’s Association hosted the contest, marking the first time the event was held on a college campus.

“It seemed like we had the right recipe for this,” National Alzheimer’s Association spokeswoman Cathy Kestler said.

UI junior Claire Lekwa and UI sophomore Mike Slusark won the event. The two made up the smallest group participating.

“It was a journey,” Slusark said, noting that Lekwa kept him organized.

The tandem credited an extensive knowledge of the Cambus schedule as the reason for their victory.

“We knew we had to catch a bus,” Slusark said.

Both Slusark and Lekwa are affiliated with the DI.

A group of UI male cheerleaders came in a close second place. They agreed the event was a good workout with a lot of running.

Mike Schneck, a fifth-year senior and UI cheerleader, said organizing was the hardest part.

“The secret is to [organize] all the clues first,” he said, noting his group ran past two locations on the hunt without realizing it.

Students in the UI’s Public Relations Workshop class — taught by journalism lecturer Ann Haugland — planned the scavenger hunt. Prizes, including gift certificates and a Nintendo DS, were awarded to the top three finishers.

UI senior Rob Lotzer, a student in the workshop class, helped to coordinate the hunt. Organizing the event was tough, he said, since it was planned by a class rather than a student organization.

Many students in the workshop spoke about their personal connections with Alzheimer’s at the event. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and over 5 million Americans are afflicted by it.

Although the event raised approximately $3,000, Kestler said participants have 30 days to finish raising money. She expects the UI’s participants will ultimately bring in over $5,000 for the Alzheimer’s association.


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