Finding my voice

Bethany, Team Brunettes

Bethany, Team Brunettes

When my grandmother, lovingly referred to as “Bimami,” passed away in 2011, I withdrew from most discussions about her and especially from any discussions about what had taken her from us: Alzheimer’s. Instead, I mourned her privately and tucked away any thoughts and feelings I may have had to a snug corner of my heart. That is until I joined the Alzheimer’s Association’s San Francisco Bay Area Blondes v. Brunettes flag football league.

Bimami was beautiful. I don’t just mean she was easy on the eyes, I mean she was the most beautiful human being I’ve ever known. She was, of course, gorgeous on the outside, but her real beauty came from within, as it always does.



She was warm, loving, fierce and classy. She was born into riches in Cuban high society and upon immigrating to the United States in 1960 she tackled a new life with resolve, surviving and thriving with her husband and five children. She was an artist, an amazing cook, her family’s biggest fan and a jubilant spirit whose laughter could warm the soul of the infamous Bill Belichick.

After a year and a half of running away, I found out about the Alzheimer’s Association’s Blondes v. Brunettes flag football league and it has turned out to be the perfect vehicle for me to face Alzheimer’s and my loss. I love football. I love going to football games and I love playing football. I was a tomboy as a child and I have always been involved in sports, but when it came to football, I rarely got the opportunity to do more than spectate. So, as I hunted for football leagues, this one grabbed my attention, for obvious reasons.

As I began practicing and fundraising, my passion for Alzheimer’s research and my dedication to Bimami unfolded effortlessly as I learned about the personal experiences of others who have coped or are still coping with Alzheimer’s in their lives. I saw how strong and effective the players and coaches can be together, both on and off the field, as we journey to overcome this tricky and devastating disease. For as the great Vince Lombardi said:

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Although Friday, August 9 marked the two year anniversary of Bimami’s passing, I have finally found my voice on her behalf and on behalf of Alzheimer’s. I have finally found the courage to face what took my beautiful grandmother from me much too soon and the courage to help beat it for future generations. And what better way to do that than on the field, with all the fire and tenacity Bimami encompassed.

-Bethany Silva

Game Day is right around the corner! CLICK HERE to learn more, donate or get involved!

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