Walk to help end Alzheimer’s

To the Editor:

Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death among adults? Did you know that of the 10 leading causes of death, Alzheimer’s is the only disease of which there is no cure, no prevention and no way to slow its progress?

Currently 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and this number expected to triple by 2050. Chances are either you have already been directly affected by this disease, or at some point, you will be.

I personally knew none of these facts until my father Don Richard was diagnosed with the disease in 2005. He lived with this disease for eight years until he died on Christmas day in 2013. His journey was heartbreaking for my mother, siblings, and me. What started as gradual forgetfulness turned to confusion and anxiety, to not knowing who he was or even his closest of family, to not being able to walk or talk. Alzheimer’s disease affects so much more than a person’s memory; it affects their entire identity.

If you have a brain, you are at risk for this disease. That is why I am asking all residents of Miami County to get involved in this year’s Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the Alzheimer’s Association’s largest fundraising and awareness event. It happens in more than 600 communities nationwide. This year’s local Walk will be held on Sept. 19, 2015, at the Troy Courthouse Square. Registration opens at 9 a.m. and the walk begins with a short opening ceremony at 10 a.m.

I am asking you to join me in this cause. I am asking you to think of the 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the more than 15 million caregivers who care for their loved ones every day. I am asking you to take a stand against the deadly disease that is Alzheimer’s so no more families like mine have to watch as their loved ones fade away.

Research requires money. The services that the Alzheimer’s Association provides to families require money. Your participation in the Walk and your donation toward defeating the disease helps with research, support, and care.

Our team, “Team Donnie,” will be at the Miami County Walk to End Alzheimer’s in full force on Sept. 19. I ask you to join us. If you can’t walk but would like to donate, see the information below. With your help, we can end this devastating disease together.

If you would like more information on registering for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, contact Walk Coordinator Katie Mauch at (937) 610-7014 or kmauch@alz.org. You can also visit alz.org/walk. For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association, call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

Deb Meyer