Raising Alzheimer's Awareness, One Step At A Time
Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease. That makes 5.7 Million Americans struggling with memory loss, impaired judgment, and reduced physical capabilities—and the number is only predicted to get larger, growing to 17 Million by 2050.
Nearly everyone will agree we need to find a cure to end Alzheimer's. The problem is, no one is yet sure exactly how the disease begins.
If you're like me, you probably didn't grow up learning a lot about Alzheimer's disease. It's referred to as "old timers'" disease for a reason, right? But if you've watched a parent, grandparent, or another loved one fall victim to the disease, you understand the magnitude of its impact. Alzheimer's can affect anyone at any time, so it's important we're aware of what exactly it is, and how it can affect our lives.
What is Alzheimer's?
According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's is "a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks." In short, Alzheimer's deteriorates someone's mind—starting with their short-term memory. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Numbers aside, when we talk about Alzheimer's, we're talking about aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas who have forgotten the names of their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Loved ones who have forgotten to eat or bathe for a couple of days, or who have forgotten where they find home. Alzheimer's strips away a person's memories, and in their rare lucid moments, those with the disease are left coming to terms with the fact that there is nothing they can do to stop the process. They can only slow it down.
Why You Should Donate to the Walk To End Alzheimer's
Right now, there is no cure to Alzheimer's—there are only treatments to temporarily slow down the speed at which the disease progresses. The good news is the Alzheimer's Association exists and is dedicated to finding a cure. Each year, nearly 80% of the Alzheimer's Association's funds are donated to care, support, research, and advocacy. 15% are used for fundraising purposes, leaving less than 6% for administrative use.
Why is care, support, research, and advocacy so important? Aside from the cost of meeting the basic needs of those with Alzheimer's disease, additional care for an Alzheimer's patient can cost a family upwards of $3,750.00 a month. Caring for a someone with Alzheimer's is as much a financial struggle as it is a mental and emotional one. And believe me, it is emotional. Early last month, I lost a grandmother to Alzheimer's disease after watching her and the rest of my family members struggle for years. It is devastating to watch someone who raised many children slowly forget their names. And it is devastating to question whether it could have been prevented.
The Alzheimer's Association is fervently dedicated to finding a cure to this disease, and that's why I'm proud to donate to them. Each year, the association holds fundraisers and hosts events not only to collect donations, but also to raise awareness, since so many Americans still don't fully understand the gravity of the disease. The Alzheimer's Association's mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
A Step In the Right Direction
Luckily, research continues and progress is coming. I am confident that with each passing year, we will learn more about Alzheimer's disease and how to cure it. In the meantime, I ask you to consider donating to the cause. Specifically, please consider donating to the Minneapolis Walk to End Alzheimer's via my mother's team. She is more than halfway to her fundraising goal — and every little bit helps.
Dedicated to my mother, Michelle Voeller, and her mother, Mary Kay Phillips-Roath.
And to everyone else who has lost a loved one to Alzheimer's disease. We are steadily searching for a cure.