PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Nearly 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's - many of them over the age of 65. And nearly two-thirds are women. But this weekend, a special group of women will take the field in Phoenix for a very important flag football game. It's not only to raise donations to find a cure but to also raise awareness about a disease that's impacted each and every one of them.
It's the blondes versus the brunettes on Saturday for the annual flag football charity game to tackle Alzheimer's.
"We put all of our sweat, blood, and tears into this one game," one player said. "And your loved ones are up in the stands watching you - it's pretty amazing."
"We have months of practice," another player said. "We're out here a couple of times a week for hours [and we] really put in a ton of hard work and effort."
Every woman on this field has a story to tell. A story about how Alzheimer's has affected them and someone they love.
"Most of the players have a personal tie to the disease," said Melissa Wastell on Team Blonde. "So it's like a support group."
"Two-thirds of the people diagnosed with Alzheimer's are women," said Abbie Cimino on Team Brunette. "So it's very important that women understand that they may be more at risk for Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia."
In Arizona, it's estimated that 1-in-3 people will know someone directly affected by Alzheimer's. And for these competitors, Saturday's game is about a cause greater than themselves.
"It feels like we're doing something special, it feels like we're doing something meaningful," Cimino said. "This is such a big thing. It's bigger than one person - there is so much that goes into [it] so this makes me feel very proud."
"Our goal is to raise $90,000," Cimino said. "We're closer every day, so keep those donations coming. We take donations even after the game - but we really want to get to that $90,000 mark."
These blondes versus brunettes charity games happen in more than 40 cities all around the country. Since the inaugural game in Washington, D.C. back in 2005, the organization has raised more than $5 million for Alzheimer's research.
Blondes vs. Brunettes Charity Flag Football Game to raise money for Alzheimer's Research
Saturday, April 27 at Phoenix College
Kickoff at 5 p.m.
Tickets can be bought online or at the gate
Adults: $15. Kids under 12 get in for free.