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The Buffalo Bills and Blondes vs. Brunettes unite for a good cause

FOR A GOOD CAUSE — Pictured are Blondes vs. Brunettes Buffalo chapter co-chairs Deanna Bednarz (far left, graduate of Lake Shore High School) and Jenn Chodora (far right), former Buffalo Bills defensive back and alumni association member Jeff Nixon and Alzheimer’s Association of WNY Executive Director Leilani Pelletier. Photo by Steve Dlugosz.
HAMBURG — Organizers of the Dec. 14 Buffalo Bills alumni tailgate party at the Armor Inn Saloon described the fundraiser as being symbolic of the hardworking efforts of volunteer groups in the local community.

Additionally recognized were the donations that went to the Alzheimer’s Association of Western New York’s benchmark year goal of $90,000 in funds raised.

The third annual tailgate party featured former Buffalo Bills players and alumni association members, along with representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association and Blondes vs. Brunettes Buffalo chapter.

An auction and raffle took place, while food and refreshments were presented by Armor Inn staff.

Blondes vs. Brunettes Buffalo is one of dozens of national BVB chapters. These organizations include volunteer-driven members who raise awareness of and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association, to support research, awareness and education about that disease.

The groups also showcase the Blondes vs. Brunettes football game, an event that locally took place at Sweet Home High School on Sept. 14. Proceeds from that event – to go along with Sunday’s fundraiser – are given to aid support groups for Alzheimer’s Association patients and caregivers, with programs and research initiatives.

Deanna Bednarz co-chairs BVB Buffalo, along with Jenn Chodora. Bednarz is a 2000 graduate of Lake Shore High School and participated in the ninth annual BVB game. More than 100 women registered, with approximately 80 playing, for this year’s event, which required participants to raise $300 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Prior to Sunday’s event, approximately $2,000 was needed, to reach the association’s annual fund goal.

Bednarz said that the overall fundraising and participation efforts and expectations have become greater each year, since BVB’s inception in 2005. This is the first year that Bednarz has served as the BVB Buffalo co-chair.

Former Buffalo Bills defensive back and current alumni association member Jeff Nixon praised the fundraising efforts that are used for the Alzheimer’s Association. Those interested in donating or finding out more information may call 1-800-272-3900.

“It’s a way of giving back to the community,” Nixon said, about the overall fundraising process.

Corporate sponsors are additionally being sought.

Leilani Pelletier, the executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of WNY, expressed gratitude for donations received, noting that the benchmark goal has risen during the past few years, from the initial objective of $25,000. Pelletier also noted the enthusiasm of BVB members and Bills alumni members, in their efforts of raising awareness and recognition of brain health.

“They’re beautiful and smart women who put so much time into this,” Pelletier said. “They’re like sisters [to me]. The Buffalo Bills Alumni are fabulous. They care for the community.”

Bednarz said that the BVB is aiming to bring the annual Blondes vs. Brunettes game to a more downtown/centralized location next year. She added that discussions have begun with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s office, in regard to a possible game location and related items.

Registration for next year’s annual BVB game will begin in May or June. The website, www.BVBbuffalo.com, also includes information about the Blondes vs. Brunettes and that organization’s connection with the Alzheimer’s Association.
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