It's one of those diseases.....sooner or later, like cancer, diabetes or maybe high blood pressure, you are going to know someone or someone effected by Alzheimer's Disease. It's an incredibly devastating and incurable disease that effects over 5 MILLION Americans, 200,000 of which are under the age of 65. It's not just a matter of "Grandpa being forgetful". It's a matter of this progressive disease starting to effect memory and working it's way to other parts of your brain's functions like remembering to eat, or remembering to breathe or even remembering to keep your heart beating. If you've ever seen it's effects, you basically watch a life erased while a person is still there. Hard to watch, but imagine being in the mind that is going through that? All of the sudden, loved ones are strangers? The home you lived in your whole life seems like a strange place? You can't remember how to get places....what you like to do......it's a horror story playing out in the windmills of your mind and there's only one way out, the end.
The work continues. The Alzheimer's Association continues to do all they can to research, advocate, advise, lobby and more. The struggle continues too as there is no known cure although there have been some signs of promise when it comes to treating the symptoms of this dreadful disease. It's a global battle with the greatest minds available trying to unlock the mystery of what triggers the onset of Alzheimer's, what causes the spread and what can hold off the effects as long as possible so people can make the most of their life while trying to hang on to hope. That's where the communities and families effected by this disease come together to battle it head on. Sure, it's a David and Goliath story, but I don't know a soul who's not willing to fight to hang on and beat the odds. It's also a magnificent opportunity to see that in the coming together for a cause, that you're not alone in the struggle. No, in fact, you have friends and neighbors that are facing the same thing you are and that isolation is the last thing anyone needs in a challenging time like this.
Get involved! The Walk to End Alzheimer's is coming up at Heritage Landing September 22nd. This is an opportunity to help those effected by this disease as well as those who support them. It's a chance to learn a little more about some of what's going on in and around ALzheimer's and on top of that, it's a chance to network with others who are going through the same thins you are. It's a short walk and a beautiful setting at Heritage Landing in Muskegon and the impact you can have, can be monumental. I had a chance to talk with Tim Breed and Erin Murphy from The Alzheimer's Association a little about the walk at Tanglewood, take a listen.
It's hard to believe that we have another disease that has to be a "sooner or later". We do. It's great to pitch in to help with what you can by raising some funds, this is true.....every penny helps, but over all, it's knowing that the work is going on....it's knowing that others are sharing the experience, it's knowing that for all you do to help those close to you who suffered or are suffering, that you did just a little more to help them. Make sure you're at the Walk to End Alzheimer's on September 22nd at Heritage Landing in Muskegon. For more on the event and to get registered, visit http://act.alz.org/ .