Feature: Natalie Bergler
Junior Natalie Bergler is excited to host a walk with the goal of raising awareness for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and breast cancer at the Northwood track from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, May 12. Called “Walk4Change,” the event will start by the Theater, and then Bergler and the early arrivals will walk to the track where the main event will be. Because of her walk, Bergler will earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. She was influenced by her personal history when planning this Girl Scout project.
“My grandma died from Parkinson’s in 2014, and I think it’s important that people should know exactly what the causes of life-threatening diseases are,” Bergler said. “At that point, I was in eighth grade and I didn’t really know exactly what was happening, so now I think that it is important for people to know what’s going to happen. If someone ever has a loved one suffering from a disease, they should know how to help.”
All Northwood students are invited to support Bergler by walking around the track and visiting various booths where they can learn about the three diseases.
“Based on how many laps you walk around the track, you can win different levels of prizes,” Bergler said. “The longer you stay, the more rewarding it is.”
Another way to win prizes is to play games at the prize tables. The prizes—which include sunglasses, bookmarks, wristbands and pens—were donated by the Alzheimer’s Association. Bergler is grateful to science teacher Cathleen Zeleski, who serves as her project advisor. Bergler decided Zeleski would be perfect for the role, because of the deep personal connection between Zeleski and Alzheimer’s disease—four years ago, her husband passed away from it. Another one of Bergler’s partners is the Alzheimer’s Awareness Club here on campus. With the collaboration among multiple outlets, Bergler hopes the walk can gain more publicity.
Students are able to attend the walk for any amount of time they want. They can stay 15 minutes or the whole two hours to win the most valuable prizes. Bergler is ensuring the event runs longer so that students with an eighth period can also come.
By using the free Charity Miles app and joining the Northwood Walk4Change team, participants can support their charity of choice since Charity Miles will donate 25 cents for every mile walked toward finding a cure. Bergler hopes that even after the event, people will continue to use the Charity Miles app while walking or biking to school to earn money for their favorite charity.
Bergler started Girl Scouts in kindergarten, and has been doing it ever since. At this point, she’s been one for a total of twelve years. It’s hard to be a Girl Scout in high school because people generally reduce the scope of Girl Scouts to activities meant for younger girls, but Bergler continues the program out of her dedication and proves that there is a wide array of contributions one can make to their community.
“I think it’s really important to stand up for what you believe in. I hope people can become more aware of these important issues,” Bergler said.