Flag football game benefiting Alzheimer’s Association has new meaning for player

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By Mark Ambrogi

Kristen Johnston originally got involved in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes vs. Brunettes Indianapolis flag football game because it sounded like a fun way to fundraise for a good cause.

Johnston, a 34-year-old Carmel resident, learned from friends from her native state of Minnesota about the game.

“I thought it was such a unique way to raise funds,” said Johnston, who will play for the Brunettes in the annual game, which will be held at 11:30 a.m. on June 25 at Eli Lilly & Company Colonel Field. “I’m an athlete, so anytime I can get involved in something athletic is great.”

That’s why Johnston played in her first game last year. However, the 2016 game has taken on a whole new meaning.

“The whole point is you never know when someone is going to be impacted, and you never know when it’s going to be someone in your family,” Johnston said. “Once that does happen, it reiterates why it’s so important to continue to get the word out about these diseases that people deal with all the time.”

Johnston now has a family member dealing with dementia.

“I feel like the family members who are trying to support that person can sometimes feel very isolated,” Johnston said. “It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t seen this person in awhile why they keep asking the same question again. Why they get so frustrated or so angry so quickly over things that to other people might not seem to be big deals.”

Johnston said she likes that younger people are getting involved in an event associated with the older generation.

“We’re the ones who help make the medical breakthroughs,” Johnston said. “It’s not picky on who it chooses. This is something that was not in my family history and now it is.”

Johnston’s son, Lane, 7, helped serve as a Brunettes assistant coach last year. However, this year he’ll miss the game because of a travel baseball tournament.

For Johnston’s fundraising page, visit act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2015/General?px=10555739&pg=personal&fr_id=9535.


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