HOSA raises awareness through purple rally

Photo courtest of Kristen Haggard
Senior Nimol Chea presented senior Hatim Tai with a $25 gift card for being the most purpled out person.
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November is known for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day, but it is also known as a month of awareness. Just as October spreads awareness for breast cancer through wearing pink, November means donning purple for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

Throughout November, aiming to inform Klein about the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, HOSA-Future Health Professionals (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America) decided to paint the school purple with banners, flowers, and “CURE ALZHEIMER’S” spelled across the 3rd and 4th floors of the Main Building. HOSA also hosted a Purple Rally, which took place after school on Nov. 14 in the courtyard.

“The Purple Rally was pretty successful. We had enough snacks and food for the amount of people we expected to come,” said senior and social chair Nimol Chea. “We had a DJ that played awesome music. People who came got to eat, dance and win prizes from our raffle tickets. With planning and organizing, it was definitely over 100 hours. This included making huge banners, posters, the tri-fold, the check we gave the Alzheimer’s Association, the letters on both sides of the windows that spelled out “CURE ALZHEIMER’S”, the bandana bracelet making, the planning, the coordinating, the decorating, talking to sponsors, emailing everyone that could possibly contribute in some sort of way, selling bracelets at lunch, and promoting the event as much as possible. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without our good friends, HOSA volunteers, HOSA officers, Ms. Haggard, and our school APs.”

The Purple Rally received coverage from the Houston Chronicle and Channel 39 News. HOSA not only created Alzheimer’s awareness at Klein, but it has also organized fundraisers and events outside of school, raising more than $600 in total.

“We were thrilled and shocked,” said Chea. “We were on the news, and the reports are also found online. It is such an accomplishment because due to this, we can aware even more people about the disease.”

But for students such as Chea and seniors Mariam Khokar and Abiera Shaikh, the adornment and coverage meant something more. These girls are also participating in a HOSA Competition teamwork event, choosing to compete in community awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

”Throughout HOSA, we would volunteer at senior living homes, and we would see people without their memories. It was hard to see family members come in to take care of them, but it was harder to see the people not remember their family,” said Khokar. “HOSA is like a family, and it was painful to see that. Just by losing memories, we lose people who are close. It hurt us the most. We want to raise awareness and find a cure. We wanted to not just volunteer, but to get more involved. We had the Purple Rally because we wanted to make the student body aware first. No one knows how easy it is to get the disease or about the dangers or the little things. The more aware people are, the better the chances to prevent the disease.”

Klein HOSA not only created Alzheimer’s awareness at Klein, but it has also organized fundraisers and events outside of school.

“Klein HOSA has been volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Walk in the Vintage and in The Woodlands for six years straight,” said sponsor and Health Science teacher Kristen Haggard. “The students have also been volunteering at the local assisted living facility. Also, as they have worked with patients with Alzheimer’s disease while in Health Science Technology 2 at the hospital, they came to realize how important this cause is.”

All of that hard work paid off in the end as HOSA donated the money they raised to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Any amount helps because this disease is one that has no cure and no way to stop it,” said Haggard. “It is devastating, and we can only hope that our efforts will help.”