More than 100 citizens turned up at the Gallipolis City Park Saturday morning to raise money in the plight of Alzheimer’s disease during the first annual Memory Walk in Gallia County.
Melissa Davis, admissions and marketing, Abbyshire Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, said the nursing home decided to host the third-party fundraiser in light of the facility’s secured Alzheimer’s unit.
“We have a vested interest in the community, not only for people affected by Alzheimer’s, but friends and family of people with Alzheimer’s as well,” Davis said.
This is the first Memory Walk to be held in Gallipolis for several years and volunteers say they plan to focus on growing the event from here on out. Abbyshire Place alone drew in dozens of walkers, a number easily matched by members of the community who showed up to support the cause on Saturday, ultimately raising more than $2,400. The top two fundraising teams were Abbyshire Place and the Rio Grande School of Nursing.
“This is wonderful for a first time event and the walk is beautiful,” said Laurie Hogue, RN, branch program manager of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Cincinnati Chapter Southeastern Ohio Branch, which serves Gallia, Adams, Brown, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Scioto, and Vinton counties. “I’m really proud of (Abbyshire Place), they’ve really put on a great event.”
“This walk, I guarantee, is going to grow,” she added.
Funds raised during the walk will be used to subsidize programs and services offered by the Southeastern Ohio branch of the Alzheimer’s Association. The association provides free programs and services to educate and support people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Through this organization, a clinical staff of nurses and social workers are available to aid families during major transition periods as well as helping them plan for future care needs. Free programs and services offered by the Alzheimer’s Association include family care consultations, family support groups and a 24-hour helpline which offers information, community referrals and supportive counseling, according to Hogue.
Alzheimer’s is an incurable, degenerative, terminal disease and the most common form of dementia. It is typically diagnosed in people over the age of 65 and causes memory loss, confusion, and often irritability and aggression. Due to its nature, this disease is known for placing a significant burden on caregivers. Little is known about its cause and progression. Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 5.3 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death. One out of every eight baby boomers will likely suffer from this disease.
Hogue said they hope to start an Alzheimer’s support group in Gallia and she invites church groups, ladies groups, and any other groups or individuals that wish to learn more about this disease to get involved and make it a community effort
“We need to get back to community in supporting those affected by Alzheimer’s, and I can tell that this is a very strong community,” she said.
Hogue added that she does not expect citizens to come to Cincinnati for support, she’ll come here.
Holzer Medical Center is hosting a free, two-part educational series for families of people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight and next Tuesday, Oct. 13.
For more information on the program or Alzheimer’s Association services available to families, contact Hogue at (937) 442-2200, or the main Cincinnati office at (513) 721-4284. To register for the two-part series or contact the 24 hour helpline, call 1-800-272-3900.