Anna Dellinger, Features Editor
When a loved one falls ill to a disease, it is natural to be willing to do anything to help. In the case of Alzheimer’s, there is a way to be a part of the solution this week.
The Alzheimer’s Association is holding the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Oklahoma City at the Civic Center Bicentennial Park Saturday, Sept. 30. Registration will start at 7:30 a.m. and the Walk will begin at 9:00 a.m.
The Walk is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
There is no registration fee, but the Alzheimer’s Association encourages participants to fundraise to contribute to the ongoing research of Alzheimer’s. In August and September, the Alzheimer’s Association held three walks in Oklahoma – in Ada, Tulsa and Lawton.
So far, over 2,500 people have registered on over 430 teams for the Oklahoma City walk. Participants have raised over half of the fundraising goal of $685,000.
Community Outreach Organizer Morgan Fitzgerald gave a presentation at the OBU Lunch N’ Le
arn in the Mabee Suite Monday, Sept. 18, and encouraged students to volunteer.
“We have 18 full-time staff to cover the 77 counties of Oklahoma, so we rely heavily on volunteers,” Fitzgerald said.
On the day of the Walk, each participant will receive a wristband and a “Promise Garden Flower.” Each participant will then choose the color that best represents their connection to the disease.
“Blue represents someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia,” according to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website.
“Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease. Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.”
Contrary to common belief, dementia is not a normal part of aging. One of ten different types of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease makes up 70% of those with dementia.
While there are therapies for Alzheimer’s, there is no cure, no way to prevent it and no way to slow disease progression.
The Alzheimer’s Association does promote four aspects of health that help people to age well: physical health and exercise, diet and nutrition, social engagement and cognitive activity. Fitzgerald covered those four topics at the Lunch N’ Learn.
“We want to be out of a job… because we want this disease to be over,” Fitzgerald said.
Rachel Lee, a junior elementary education major, attended the Lunch N’ Learn about Alzheimer’s last week.
“I decided to come because my grandma had Alzheimer’s and her first heavenly birthday was yesterday,” Lee said.
Lee isn’t yet sure if she will participate in the Walk or not, she said.
For more information about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s or to register, go to their website.