Letter: A world without Alzheimer’s
Editor, Gazette Journal:
The Alzheimer’s Association 2013 report estimates 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. Approximately 200,000 individuals under age 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. In 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $216 billion.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death and has no effective treatment or cure.
These statistics are overwhelming and for those dealing with a dementia disease they are frightening and frustrating. It can seem hopeless. However, there is hope. On Saturday, Sept. 21, the 2013 Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck Walk to End Alzheimer’s was held in Gloucester Court House.
Thirty-two team captains led the way and involved their teams in fundraising events, raising awareness in their neighborhoods, churches, workplaces and organizing for the Walk. Local merchants (too many to name) very generously provided door prizes to award to our hard-working walkers. Our Walks could not be successful without the help of our local sponsors. Our sincere thanks to the 2013 sponsors: Commonwealth Assisted Living, Home Instead Senior Care, Phillips Energy, Riverside Lifelong Health, SunTrust, Visiting Angels, and WXGM 99.1.
The Alzheimer’s Association is very proud of the fact that 81 cents of every dollar we raise is used for education, support and research. Our volunteers make that possible. Over 75 people gave their time and energy and volunteered to work this year’s Walk. The 2013 Walk Committee volunteered for many months to plan a walk celebrating the hard work and dedication of so many. My sincere thanks to the 2013 Walk Committee: Christy Talbott, Ginger Peer, Sally Lawrence, Kristi Newman, Jacque Jones and Reese Williams.
Most importantly, 558 enthusiastic and committed people registered for our local Walk to show their support even if they were not able to walk. Many of the families that are on the Alzheimer’s journey made a point to tell me that seeing so many people come out to support them was uplifting and renewed their hope. All of these people support the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alz-
heimer’s and they know that the end of Alzheimer’s starts with them. Thank you.
Our sincere thanks to the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal for its help raising awareness and providing education through articles telling the stories of our neighbors struggling with the daily challenges of Alzheimer’s. We would also like to express a very heartfelt thanks to WXGM 99.1. Their time and their help spreading the word is much appreciated but the understanding and kindness that they show to our families sharing their stories on live radio is a ministry. The love and compassion that is expressed off the air creates an environment that is comfortable and easy when on a live broadcast.
Last but not least, thank you to Paul Sharp, the 2013 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Honorary Chairman and Donald Talbott, the 2011/2012 Walk Honorary Chairman. Don and Paul, thank you for sharing your stories, your joy, and your determination to work for a cure for our children and grandchildren.
Regional Director, Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Richmond Chapter