Why I Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease

Once again, it is time for the Annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Brainerd/Baxter. The walk is this Saturday, September 28th at Forestview Middle School, with registration at 8:30, a ceremony at 10:00, and the walk at 10:20.

I have been walking and/or volunteering with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the lakes area for many years. Several years ago, my sisters and I served as the Honorary Chair for the walk after our father passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. Tess Taylor and I have emceed the event for a number of years, and have both served on one of the walk committees as well.

Seeing what happened to my dad as he succumbed to Alzheimer’s was one of the hardest experiences of my life. My sisters and I watched him go from being an amazing man with an incredible personality to someone who did not know who we were. We all became care-givers, with one of my four sisters serving as his primary care-giver, but we all helped out when we could.

Our story is far too common. Right now, there are more than 5 million Americans living with the disease. In 2018 there were more than 16 million caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias providing an estimated 18.5 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued at more than $234 billion. In 2019, Alzheimer’s disease will cost the United States $290 billion.

One more scary fact: in the United States, someone develops Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds. Some people think this is a disease that affects only old people. That is not true. Early onset Alzheimer’s has been detected in people in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.

I invite anyone whose family is dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia to join us for the annual walk. You will be surrounded by people who are sharing the same experience, and doing what they can to help raise awareness, and try to put an end to this terrible disease.

If you cannot attend the event but would still like to help, please go to the website ALZ.org. You can find the Brainerd/Baxter walk and contribute to any one of the participating teams. All funds raised through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association is a 501(c)3 organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.