Lys Morillo (center) joins Alzheimer's Association staff Judy Gunkel (left) and Diane Baughn (right) during WCTC's "Campaign of Love" in February
Lots of listening, and even more doing is Lys Morillo’s blueprint for success. As Vice President of Social Activities for the Student Government Association at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC), this dynamo is charged with planning events and activities that will support students and enrich their lives. One of those events was the recent “Campaign of Love”, held for seven days in February, to educate and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among the WCTC student body.
“I was amazed at the incredible amount of interest the students had in learning about Alzheimer’s disease and supporting the cause,” said Lys, who is also a student working towards a second degree in Global Business. “I thought that if I, as one person, didn’t know much about the disease, then there certainly must be other students in the same situation.”
Lys’ initial curiosity about Alzheimer’s disease began years ago when she lived with her family in Venezuela. She was extremely close to her aunt, Soledad, who struggled with memory issues. “One day my aunt was driving and became very confused,” explained Lys. “She pulled over because she knew something was wrong. She had to give up driving and went to see her doctor.” The eventual diagnosis - early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
This close knit Venezuelan family tried hard to support Aunt Soledad, but ran into roadblocks. “It was very difficult at that time to find information about Alzheimer’s disease in Venezuela,” said Lys. “You get scared. Your beloved aunt is losing her memory and you don’t know what to do, where to turn.”
Aunt Soledad passed away just last year, while she was still in her early 50’s. Five years ago, Lys moved to the United States to begin a new and exciting chapter of her life. She enrolled in WCTC, to learn English and to earn her first degree in Architectural Drafting. While thousands of miles had eventually separated Lys Morillo from her aunt, she never forgot that feeling of helplessness, and decided that one day she would reconnect with her original mission to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease. That opportunity came this year through WCTC’s “Campaign of Love”.
“This was a great event,” said Lys. “I am so grateful to Susanne Fenske, Director of Student Development and Paul Butrymowicz, former Student Life Coordinator for not only listening to my ideas but supporting the Campaign of Love from the very first proposal. I am truly fortunate to have the opportunity to be a student leader at WCTC, and want to thank all the Student Government Association members who volunteered their time to make Campaign of Love such a success.”