The day is here and today is the Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the Central Alabama Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association!
I’m so excited for today for so many reasons.
I worked for the Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter for 6 years and volunteered for 2 years prior to working with them.
Alzheimer’s is very personal for me as several of my family members have suffered from and even died from this disease. I have cared for many friends and others with this disease. I have consulted and worked with families to help manage the stages of this fatal disease. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease and eventually passed away 5 years ago after suffering with it for at least 10 years. His sister, my great aunt, had died from the disease 11 years prior and both of his parents died from Alzheimer’s. There was no chapter in Alabama, and the Alzheimer’s group that serviced the Birmingham area didn’t cover northern Alabama, and the Alzheimer’s Association of Middle Tennessee didn’t cover the area where he and my grandmother lived. They were in limbo as far as services and most of the local doctors were not as educated on the disease as they are now, though some smaller town doctors sometimes, not all and please I don’t want to get slayed for speaking the truth as I know it, do not know as much as is needed about the disease to help their patients.
This is where the Alzheimer’s Association becomes a guiding light for many. Their 800 # (1-800-272-3900) is a 24/7 hotline to help people any time day or night. You can also find them at www.alz.org. They may not always be to find you a support group or doctor close to you, however they are there to help assist you in time of need and make suggestions of where you go in your region, as well as give you tips and just be a voice on the end of the line when you truly need someone who can understand and talk to you.
I have been talking, calling, emailing since about 2007 to the national office about a chapter in Central Alabama. We have part of the northern section of the state covered by the Middle TN chapter and Lower Alabama covered by the Panhandle chapter but the rest was pretty much hanging out with no assistance.
At the end of 2013, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Alabama was opened and I have volunteered, and badgered them for employment, since I moved here in 2014! To say I am thrilled is an understatement.
That is why todays walk means so much to me.
From the Alzheimer’s Association, the 2015 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures:
- Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
- It’s the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed
- 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Almost two thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women
- Only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers report being told of their diagnosis versus more than 90% of people with the four most common types of cancer have been told of their diagnosis
- Alzheimer’s kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined
- In 2015, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $226 billion
- By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion
The disease is not pretty, it isn’t sexy or isn’t something a lot of people want to even talk about. Alzheimer’s knows no borders or boundaries, it takes people of all races, classes, socioeconomic background and all genders. It destroys their lives and the lives of those who care for them.
I’ve noticed several ads for Alzheimer’s medications on television recently and it angers me because it makes it seem as if “Oh you get Alzheimer’s you can take a pill and go on with your life.” If it were only that easy. There isn’t a magical pill. We are closer now than 10 years ago but we do not yet have a cure or even a way to stop the progression of the disease. It does “help” but unfortunately it doesn’t help everyone.
I want to walk, volunteer, spread awareness and help funding to prevent, halt and eventually find a cure for this terminal disease. I want my son and any grandchildren I may have to live in a world without Alzheimer’s.
So today I walk in memory of my grandfather, my Papa. Papa’s Posse will be at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Railroad Park volunteering and spreading hope! *Photo below of my beloved Papa & GrandMaMa
Now I just hope the rains end prior to the walk and that we have massive attendance!
For my part, the Fabulously Graceless Lady Maos is all in!
Keep Hope Alive!