By Jason A. Smith
Volunteers are being sought for an event geared toward raising money for the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
The 11th annual Southern Crescent Alzheimer's Memory Walk is scheduled for Oct. 2, in Peachtree City. Dan Nelson, public awareness chairman for the walk, said the Southern Crescent event is the second-largest one in Georgia, dedicated to battling the disease that is most commonly associated with aging.
Alzheimer's is currently the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States, according to co-organizer, Iola Snow, of the Southern Crescent memory Walk, and secretary of the Alzheimer's Association, Georgia Chapter Board of Governors. Snow said "as many as 5.3 million Americans, and more than 200,000 Georgians, are suffering from the devastating disease."
"Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior severe enough to affect the normal work, lifelong hobbies or social life," added Snow.
Last year's walk, according to Nelson, generated participation from 1,400 walkers, and raised $232,000. "Last year was the largest, in terms of participants and the amount donated," Nelson said.
"The Southern Crescent Alzheimer's Memory Walk has raised more than $1.7 million dollars over the past 10 years of its existence," said Snow.
Teams for the five-kilometer walk are now forming in Henry, Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Fulton, Meriwether and Spalding counties. Those teams, said Nelson, include volunteers from schools, businesses, hospitals and neighborhoods.
A kick-off luncheon for volunteers in Henry was held July 27, at the Dogwood Forest Assisted Living Community in Stockbridge, according to the facility's Community Relations Director, Stephania Ward.
Ward, who is also the Alzheimer's Association's Henry County chairperson for the walk, said she is hoping for as many local participants as possible.
"We're looking for [people] to get involved and support the walk, in helping to collect money for research, and actively walking in the [event]," Ward said.
Nelson added that the money collected will go toward the Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
"The funds go to provide educational programs, and assistance programs, to families affected by Alzheimer's," he said. "It doesn't just affect the patient, but the caregiver as well."
Nelson hopes to educate the public, regarding the seriousness of the disease.
"There aren't any patients who had it, and get rid of it," said Nelson. "Once you have it, it's fatal."
There is no cost to participate in the Memory Walk, and donations will be accepted. For more information, visit www.southernmemorywalk.org.