SIDNEY — We joke about getting older as an excuse for loss of memory. However, loss of memory for most is no joke.
A general term for memory loss and the most common form for dementia, is called Alzheimer’s disease and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.
Alzheimer’s disease develops when brain cells stop functioning and eventually die, resulting in cognitive decline. It’s a progressive, irreversible disorder of the brain and can severely impair a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
The disease is named for Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who, in 1906, noticed brain tissue changes in a woman who had died of an unexplained mental illness that caused memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior.
On Saturday, Sept. 23, citizens of Sidney and Shelby County will Walk to End Alzheimer’s which aims to help people become educated about the disease and those who are affected by it.
For the almost 1,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in Shelby County, there are at least three family members impacted, which means that between the patient, their family and friends, more than 3,000 people impacted.
Maire Reynolds, Walk to End Alzheimer’s coordinator, says “the Walk hopes to register 300-400 participants this year with a goal to raise $60,000.”
The Walk will be held on Sidney’s courtsquare. Registration for the walk begins at 9 a.m., with the opening ceremony starting at 10 a.m. and the walk at 10:15 am.
When people register, they will be asked to choose a pinwheel flower in one of the following colors:
• Purple – meaning you have lost someone to Alzheimer’s
• Orange – meaning you support the cause, but may not have a direct connection.
• Yellow – meaning you are a caregiver for a family/friend or professionally
• Blue – meaning you are living with Alzheimer’s disease
The flowers will be used in the ceremony and then the walkers may take their flowers on the walk and home at the end of the event.
Every registered participant who raises a minimum of $100 will receive a Walk T-shirt if the money is turned in that day.
The Alzheimer’s Association was formed in April 1980 to spread awareness and make support programs available. The Walk helps raise money to support the research and outreaches of the association to eradicate the disease.
There is currently no way to slow, prevent, or cure Alzheimer’s, thus the need for research, and the Alzheimer’s Association is the leading health organization for the disease. Every dollar raised goes to support their mission: research to end this disease, and local care and support services for those living with it.
You don’t need to know someone with Alzheimer’s to walk on Saturday. Just come walk to show your support. Each year over 600 communities in the U.S. Walk to End Alzheimer’s because every day, across the country, more than 1,000 people are developing Alzheimer’s, from which there will be no survivors.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.