Walk today to aid Alzheimer's fight

The 2007 Southern Crescent Memory Walk, sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association, will take place today in Peachtree City.

The event was first organized in 2000 by Peachtree City co-founder, Floy Farr, and has raised more than $1 million to combat Alzheimer's, a disease that affects more than five million Americans.

One group of participants in the walk will be Dr. Paul A. Colon, and a team of employees from the Governors Glen Memory Impairment Community he founded in Forest Park.

Unlike some assisted living facilities for seniors, Dr. Colon launched Governors Glen in 1999 after his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He said he wanted anyone with Alzheimer's to be able to receive the kind of specialized care the disease demands.

Governors Glen is a 60-bed facility geared toward those with Alzheimer's. Care at the facility costs $3,000 per month.

The memory walk is in its ninth year. More than 1,300 people participated in the walk in 2006 and raised more than $200,000. Last year, the team from Governors Glen placed first in the fundraising walk with just over $21,000 in pledges.

Carol Simmons and Joe Botnick are co-captains of the Governors Glen Go-getters team in the walk this year.

"The money goes toward grants to help educate families and provide other resources they otherwise might not get," said Simmons, who also is the executive director of Governors Glen.

"We just have to find a cure and this money goes toward helping find a cure and to families dealing with this that cannot afford places like Governors Glen," she said.

Alzheimer's is a progressive, irreversible neurological disorder. Most victims are older than 65, but it can strike in the 40s and 50s. Symptoms include gradual memory loss, impairment of judgment, disorientation, personality change, difficulty in learning and loss of language skills. No cause or cure is known.

The walk will be held in the Frederick Brown, Jr. Amphitheater parking lot in Peachtree City. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Runners will start at 9:15 a.m., and walkers will depart at 9:30 a.m. For directions, visit the web site at www.southernmemorywalk.org.

- From Staff Reports