Alzheimer's--It can be a terrifying, overwhelming diagnosis. For the loved ones of someone diagnosed with this disease, it means losing the person they care about twice--first to the disease which slowly robs the loved one of their memories and abilities to do once simple tasks, and secondly, to death. It is a disease that can take years to wind its course. At this time, there is no cure.
That is one of the reasons that 105 walkers came together this past Saturday, Sept. 21, to walk the dam at Long Branch Lake in Macon. Walk to End Alzheimer's has taken place for at least 12 years in Macon. Walkers have the chance to raise donations which go toward community programs as well as Alzheimer's research. This year's walk raised more than $13,000. The walk also gives participants an opportunity to learn about advocacy opportunities, Alzheimer's updates, and about local support programs and services.
The Walk began with a short ceremony with Nikki Moyer and her daughter singing the National Anthem, Boy Scout Troop 81 of Macon leading the Pledge of Allegiance, and a short talk by Margery Waller, committee chair of the Walk to End Alzheimer's.
"Today, more than half of all Americans know someone with Alzheimer's disease," said Waller, in a press release. "Soon, no one will be left untouched. I invite everyone to sign up and help us change the course of this disease. Funds raised provide care and support services to our families living with Alzheimer's while also contributing to much-needed research."
Individuals are given the chance in the weeks before the Walk to buy a flower in honor or memory of a loved one. These flowers are placed along the sidewalk at the shelter house before the Walk begins and each name is read off during the beginning ceremony. Once the Walk is over, participants can meet back at the shelter house for a meal of hot dogs, chips, soda and dessert which is provided by the committee in charge of the Walk. Door prizes are given away which have been given by community sponsors.
"Whether you're walking for a friend or family member, for a caregiver or someone living with Alzheimer's disease, or for a loved one who lost the battle, we all have a reason to Walk," said Linda Newkirk, executive director, Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter, in a press release.
It was announced that future Walks will be held each year during the third week of September.