It’s the type of headline that hits the news when there’s a plane wreck or a bombing. But there’s a deadly killer making its way through our society that many never notice or hear about until it’s too late.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the brain, can strike at any age and has no cure. There’s very little by way of effective treatment. No remission. No survivors. It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, but you won’t find it on the front page of the local paper. In fact, unless you have a loved one with the disease there’s a good chance you won’t hear much about it at all.
The Alzheimer’s Association is changing that, fighting to increase awareness, raise funds and improve the quality of life for over 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.
On Saturday, July 5th, 2013, I was pleased to be able to join the spirited, slightly damp group of people that turned out for the first annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Wyoming County. The event, organized and sponsored by representatives from a number of local organizations, was presided over by Alzheimer’s Association Chapter President Eric G. Wiedemann and Executive Director Leilani Joven Pelletier.
Radio station WCJW opened the event with a moment of silence for those living with Alzheimer’s along with an introduction to the memorial garden, standing in silent support of those living with Alzheimer’s, caring for those with Alzheimer’s, and providing support and encouragement for the Alzheimer’s community.
It was amazing to see the number of people that showed up. Director Pelletier said it was one of the largest turnouts she’d ever seen for a first year walk. The unflagging energy and bright spirits of all of the participants was amazing to see. Walkers of all ages, from infants on up, from all walks of life travelled on a 1.76 mile tour of Warsaw, NY, each step drawing them closer as a team, as a community and as an unstoppable force moving forward to bring this deadly killer to its knees.
The Warsaw Walk to End Alzheimer’s was just one of many that take place in Western New York each year. To learn more about the walk, Alzheimer’s and what you can do to help, visit the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.
UPDATE: In chatting with one of the walk's planners this morning, East Side Nursing & Rehabilitation Center's Tracy Ford, I learned that the walk brought in over 400 people and over $18,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. (Speculation states that over $20,000 were raised in all between raffles and other donations.) Way to go Warsaw!