The Walk to End Alzheimer's is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs. In 2017, more than 61,000 teams participated in more than 600 Walks across the country, raising more than $87 million.
The Purchase Area walk will be held this Saturday, September 22 at Bob Noble Park in Paducah. Registration starts at 9 am and the Walk will begin at 10 am. If you haven't registered yourself or your team already, be sure to visit the website. There’s no charge to sign up and walk.
This year, Walk organizers want to raise over $100,000, but they need your help to get there. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised by walkers and their supporters will benefit the Alzheimer's Association. Edward Jones is this year's Walk to End Alzheimer's national presenting sponsor.
There are a lot of myths out there about Alzheimer’s disease. Many people still think it’s a normal part of aging, but it's not. It is a progressive and fatal illness and every 65 seconds someone in the US develops this terrible disease. It’s the sixth-leading cause of death and the only disease among the top 10 causes that cannot be cured, prevented or even slowed. Alzheimer’s touches so many lives, including the more than 16 million family and friends who provide care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Local veterinarian, Dr. LaNita Flanary, knows firsthand how devastating a diagnosis of Alzheimer's can be for the patient and their caregivers. She raises funds for Alzheimer's research every year and walks in the Purchase Area Walk to End Alzheimer's. In her own words, this is her mom's story.
My Mom was the strongest lady I know. She never backed down from a challenge. Raised 5 kids, 10 grandkids, took in several other kids as if they were her own, care gave for my Dad after he had a stroke and loved her animals. She was the room mother, the Pto president, the carpool lady and the Mom everyone wanted. She milked the cow, worked the garden, mowed the yard, cleaned the house, and had a homemade supper on the table every night. She was a straight talker who spoke her mind and gave her heart to the ones she loved. So, when I thought she may have something wrong with her memory at 83, I didn't want to believe it. Dementia?? No way that could not happen to my Mom.... but it did.
But in the strong fashion that she lived her life and with the fighting spirit she taught me to live mine, we didn't take the diagnosis without a fight! I say we because she was always on my side through whatever life handed me and I promised her we would tackle this together and I would not leave her.
For years, we lived every moment we could doing fun things and making memories. I asked her lots of things about her past. She told me how she wanted me to live my future. She finally taught me to cook those favorite recipes of hers and I worked puzzles, school worksheets and made memory books full of pictures for her. We wanted to show everyone that we were not afraid and that the diagnosis was not going to keep us from living each day.
I have actually struggled more as time has passed than she has. It is always harder for the ones closest to the people affected. As a doctor, it has been so hard for me to try to care for her with a disease that follows no rules.
The last year has been the hardest. My Mom is not able to walk, cannot feed herself, panics to ride in a car, yells for no reason, has lost most of her vision, can not carry on a real conversation and rarely knows who I am.There is nothing more painful than to hug and kiss her and tell her I love her and she says, “ I can't tell you I love you because I don't know who you are “
So I try to be strong. I cherish our memories. I live for those rare occasions she calls my name or seems to calm when I hold her. I strive to be the lady she taught me to be and I accept the challenge to help others be aware of and raise money to find a cure for this dreadful disease. Most importantly, I will not leave her or let her be forgotten.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leader in providing help and hope for people living with the disease and their families. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s disease research. It works with caregivers to enhance care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias, offering a number of resources online, in person and on the phone – wherever caregivers are most comfortable accessing information when they need it most.
The Association provides support groups, educational programs, and a 24-hour helpline. If anyone needs help, all they have to do is call 1.800.272.3900.
For those who wish to participate in clinical trials, the Associations TrialMatch program matches participants with a customized list of clinical trials they may qualify for. For more information about the walk or the association, visit alz.org.