This year, the National Alzheimer’s Association is coming to Payson to hold a Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The walk will be held at Green Valley Park, Saturday, Sept. 22.
The event portion and the start of the walk will be held in the parking lot of the Payson First Assembly Church just west of the park. There will be live music and a 20-minute Zumba warm up with Christy Walton.
Research on Alzheimer’s suggests that more than 5 million people in the United States alone have Alzheimer’s and it is the 6th leading cause of death following, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, kidney disease then accidents.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a general term used to describe various diseases and conditions that damage brain cells and affect a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases. More women than men get Alzheimer’s but that may be because women typically live longer.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to loss of memory, thinking and other brain functions. Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging, but results from a complex pattern of abnormal changes. It usually develops slowly and gradually gets worse as more brain cells wither and die. Ultimately, Alzheimer’s is fatal, and currently, there is no cure and we don’t know the cause. Research on new strategies for earlier diagnosis is among the most active areas in the illness’ research and funding from the National Alzheimer’s Association has spurred significant advances and progress.
If you search the Internet as to the cause of Alzheimer’s, you’ll find the possibilities include genetics, stress, poor diet, high cholesterol, education level, head trauma, lack of exercise, many of the same causes that lead to heart disease, kidney disease, strokes and cancer. Resources also suggest that vitamin and herbal supplements may put you at a lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s as well as regular reading, exercise and stimulating brain activities. One would think that if you can successfully eliminate a bad habit or take a pill to lower cholesterol or regulate blood pressure, these diseases shouldn’t be running so rampant. It’s easy to understand people’s frustrations to giving to causes when the results don’t seem to be on the horizon.
When you support the National Alzheimer’s Association 73 percent of the monies they collect go to research and 27 percent go to administrative programs such as help lines, family care consultation, support groups, education programs, medic alerts and early stage programs. Their staff and volunteers impact thousands of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Though cures and causes aren’t always evident, support is.
This year’s walk is not about how much money can be raised; it’s about the 600 families that are affected by Alzheimer’s in the Payson community alone.
Payson Care Center has already raised more than $2,500 for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Recently, TC Menges, Payson Care Center’s chef, and his staff made more than 900 tamales and sold them to staff and families. TC’s efforts raised an additional $925 in donations.
Pine artists Sarah Cox, Jaqueline Maffia and Clauge donated several pieces of beautiful artwork for a silent auction. Gary Houston donated a handcrafted stone serving dish and Sheila Menges donated a stunning handmade jewelry set.