Plans for annual Alzheimer's Walk well under way

From Staff Reports

Sept. 2, 2008 - Each year, an Alzheimer's Walk is held to raise funding to benefit those with Alzheimer's disease. Several mini walks are also held by local nursing and rehabilitation facilities as well.

While they are not able to participate in the full scale community-wide walk, residents of several local nursing homes as well as other senior citizens do their part to raise funds and support the organization through smaller walks held at nursing homes and the Senior Citizens Center. Some are so dedicated to the cause that, although they are not able actually "walk" themselves, they have employees at participating facilities push their wheelchairs around the walking path, according to Karon Weatherman, program and marketing director at the Senior Citizens Center.

"All of these walks need people to help sponsor walkers. ... Some of the residents at the nursing homes and rehabs don't have any family members to sponsor them. They really enjoy these walks. Some of them cannot walk anymore, but the workers at the facilities push them in their wheelchairs. They all get a T-shirt and walk (or ride) as a group. It makes them feel like they can still contribute to a great cause. Alzheimer's has effected many of their friends," Weatherman said.

At least four mini walks are slated at local facilities and offer opportunities for community members to sponsor residents or participate.

The first will be at Monday, Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. at Trinity Mission Health and Rehab of Winnsboro. For more information, contact Kim Holloway at 903-342-6951.

The next is at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at Sunny Springs Nursing Home at Sunny Springs nursing home. Contact Rhonda Carroll at 903-885-6571 for more information or to sponsor a resident.

Carriage House Manor will also be hosting a mini walk at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 12. Call Becky Shaw at 903-885-3589 for information or sponsor a walker.

The Senior Citizens Center will also be hosting a mini walk Thursday, Sept. 25, during its regular 9:30 a.m. seniorcize time. Contact Karon Weatherman, 903-885-1661 for more on this walk

The "big" walk will be hosted at the Gardens at Memorial Hospital Thursday, Oct. 9 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Contact Jane Goldsmith, walk chairman, at 903-885-2103 or 903-348-5099.

Weatherman encourages all who can to participate or sponsor someone in one or more of the walks for Alzheimer's.

"I am sure that we ALL know and love someone who has this terrible disease. Please let people know that they can help find a cure by walking, sponsoring walkers, or just making a donation," she urges.

A special session is also scheduled Sept. 4, to give those in Hopkins County updated information regarding Alzheimer's. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Jamie Huff with the Alzheimer's Alliance of Northeast Texas in Tyler will talk about new information about and signs of Alzheimer's, then will hold a question and answer session.

"She is a very informed speaker on the subject of Alzheimer's disease," Goldsmith said of Huff. "?Many people ignore the warning signs of Alzheimer's and remain in denial about its onset.? Be informed!? Be educated!? It is so important to address concerns about memory loss as early as possible.?Please urge anyone with these concerns regarding themselves, family or friends to do so."

For more information about the Alzheimer's Association of Northeast Texas, the Sept. 4 session or Huff, call the Alzheimer's Alliance at 1-800-789-0508 or visiting www.alzalliance.org.

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