Tallahassee’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s is next Saturday, October 13th. Event organizers who are hoping for a spectacular turnout.
First, here are a few not-so-happy statistics. The Alzheimer’s Association says there are 5.5 million Americans aged 65 and older who have Alzheimer’s. That’s one out of every 10 folks in that age bracket. Almost two-thirds of those Alzheimer’s patients are women. And, as America ages, the number of Americans with the disease continues to increase. David Wheeler of Tallahassee, whose father Willie succumbed to Alzheimer’s, pointed out the affliction is no longer confined to seniors.
“We’ve heard a story recently about a woman in her 30s; people in the prime and peak of their careers are going to be leaving the work force. Key people in organizations are going to be leaving. Their spouses or partners are going to have to either curtail their work or leave the work force altogether to take care of them. The cost of taking care of them, even at home, is high. In facilities, it’s huge!”
Which means more clientele for – and services provided by - the Alzheimer’s Association. Yasmin Khan is the development manager for the regional Association chapter that extends from Orlando through all of North Florida. She explained there are many service offerings.
“The support groups, the community forums, being able to impact those directly, not only in Leon County, but also all the way out to Escambia County. Being able to really provide a voice to those who are living with Alzheimer’s, not only those diagnosed, but their caregivers as well.”
Of course, added Khan, all of these things would not be necessary if there was a cure or some kind of vaccination to prevent Alzheimer’s from happening in the first place.
“We also provide a lot of money towards research. We have a recent increase of $425 million being given towards Alzheimer’s research and that’s something we’re hoping to improve upon every year in terms of providing more funds and attention towards Alzheimer’s disease.”
Certainly there are multiple funding sources. But David Wheeler asserted the most critical of these is the money that comes from the community itself through the Association’s premier event: the yearly Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“We are going to be meeting at Cascades Park next Saturday, that’s a week from this Saturday, October 13th. If you’re not already registered or signed up for the event, you can show up on Saturday morning and register on the spot. Donate $100 and you get a tee shirt. Raise or donate more and we have other incentives.”
He said there are many ways to be involved. “Put together a team with your coworkers, your faith community, your civic group, amongst your family and friends. It’s not too late to sponsor our event.”
Wheeler added there are two courses for the walk. The shorter of the two stays within the confines of Cascades Park, while the longer course winds through the wooded beauty that is Myers Park. But walking isn’t mandatory and event supporters are welcome to just hang out and cheer the walkers as they stroll by. Yasmin Khan said everything participants need to know is available online.
“Just go to: www.alz.org/walk. Just type in your zip code, you’ll find our page and click on ‘register’ to form a team.”
Next Saturday morning’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s registration begins at eight with the walk itself stepping off at nine-thirty. There is also this late-breaking development; the event is already just over halfway to its $85,000 thousand dollar fundraising goal.