One in three seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s kills more than breast and prostate cancers combined. Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.
Every person will be personally touched by Alzheimer’s, either through a family member, neighbor, friend or themselves in the future.
These are facts that Carol Brown, program development manager for Western Arizona Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging, shares when asked why people should care about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Currently there is no cure, but Brown invites Yumans to join the fight for Alzheimer’s first survivor by participating in the Yuma Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday.
“We’re fighting for the cure. We want to see the first survivor in our lifetime,” said Brown, who is the captain of Team WACOG and a “dementia friend champion” who goes out in the community to talk about the effects of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-causing diseases and the support that is available in Yuma through the Alzheimer’s Association, a nonprofit organization.
“Cancer and heart disease are going down while Alzheimer’s is going up exponentially. We’re behind in terms of funding and research,” she said, adding that if a cure is not found by 2050, the disease will bankrupt Medicare.
The walk will “shine a light” on Alzheimer’s as well as raise money for research and local resources offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. The organization connects people with the resources they need so they don’t feel alone.
Brown noted that it’s been called the “seesaw disease” because there are “good days and really, really bad days.” Caregivers in particular need help because they are stressed out and exhausted and might don’t know where to turn.
The two-mile walk will take place Saturday at West Wetlands Park, 282 N. 12th Ave. Check-in and registration will start at 8 a.m., with the program starting at 9 a.m. and the walk at 9:30 a.m.
There is no registration fee, but every walker is invited to make a tax-deductible donation. Every registered walker will receive a T-shirt after raising a minimum of $100. Shirts will be available for pick up on the day of the walk.
Supporters can help in a variety of ways. They may sign up as a team captain and form a team, join an existing team, register as an individual or raise awareness and funds.
The event is also in need of volunteers to help with setup, cleanup, registration, water stops, Promise Garden, T-shirt tent and more on the day of the walk.
Walkers will receive a wristband and a Promise Garden flower. They will choose a flower in the color that best represents their connection to the disease. Blue represents someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease. Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.
Organizers of the Yuma walk have several goals. They are hoping for at least 40 teams, and they currently have 43 teams. They are hoping for at least 350 participants and they currently have 248 walkers signed up. They hope to raise $30,000 in donations. As of Wednesday, they had $23,572.
Information will be shared from the main stage, and families will be able to enjoy kids and pet zones.
For more information on the walk or volunteer opportunities, go to www.yumaalzheimerswalk.org. To sign up, text “alzwalk” to “51555” or call Nadine Hanson at 520-322-6601, ext 9504.