Byram Hills Sophs Step Up to Captain W’chester Alzheimer’s Walk Team

Emily Stangel and Remi Matza, co-captains of Byram Hills High School’s Team GAGA. Since the team’s inception in 2011, it is one of the most successful groups that raise money each year at the Westchester Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Emily Stangel and Remi Matza, both sophomores at Byram Hills High School in Armonk, recently became team captains for Team GAGA in the Westchester Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

This will be their first year as team captains after former captain Hallie Remnitz stepped down after holding the position for two years.

Matza is going to be participating in the walk for the first time. Stangel has previously been part of Team GAGA, the official team for Byram Hills High School. The team name is an acronym that stands for Growth and Awareness Group for Alzheimer’s.

Traditionally, the team has been among the top fundraising groups for the Westchester walk. It was created by former Byram Hills student Max Levy in 2011 after the passing of his grandmother.

Stangel has a personal connection to Alzheimer’s through her grandfather, who is now in the late stages of the disease.

Stangel and Matza, who hope to get other students from their school to join the effort, recently created a Team GAGA Instagram page, @bhhs.gaga2020, to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and their team fundraising efforts. On the page, they have created the #Making_Memz_Challenge, where they encourage others to make funny videos that will create a lasting memory and to challenge their friends to do the same. They started the hashtag chain with a video of themselves throwing pies at each other.  

“The idea behind the hashtag is to make memories for those that no longer have the ability to do so,” Matza said. “We hope to create a chain with this hashtag and get users to donate just a small amount.”

This year’s Westchester Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held on Sunday, Oct. 4, but will be quite different. While the event normally draws large crowds to the SUNY Purchase campus, steps are being taken to protect the health and safety of participants and volunteers. There will be no large gathering. Instead, participants will be walking at various locations in their communities with their teams or family members. To register, visit WestchesterWalk.org

Stangel and Matza said they are excited to participate.

“We are happy it can still occur despite the pandemic,” Stangel said.

To join Team Gaga or make a donation, visit www.TeamGaga.com. To register for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit HudsonValleyWalks.org

Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. 

The Alzheimer’s Association Hudson Valley Chapter serves families living with dementia in seven counties: Duchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. To learn more about the programs and services offered locally, visit alz.org/hudsonvalley.

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