To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I’m joining the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Saturday on the Ashuwillticook Trail in Cheshire. I’ll be walking with hundreds of others who believe "the end of Alzheimer’s starts with me."
In the 21 years since the first Berkshire Walk, the growing numbers tell the story -- from a handful of people hoping to raise awareness of this progressive, fatal disease, to 700 participants at last year’s Walk raising $100,000! They reflect the skyrocketing toll of people affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
More than 5 million people in the U.S. are currently struggling with Alzheimer’s. Unless we find a way to prevent, stop, or even slow this disease, it is expected there will be more than 15 million Americans afflicted with Alzheimer’s by 2050. With 10,000 baby boomers a day reaching age 65, an age where one in eight people are expected to develop Alzheimer’s, it’s clear why we must act now.
For me, it’s personal. My mother was diagnosed at age 65, at a time before Alzheimer’s was in the public eye, before Ronald Reagan, Pat Summit, and Glen Campbell had the courage to step forward. There were no resources or experts to turn to. No support for how to cope with the unrelenting deterioration and disappearance, over the course of seven years, of a loving wife, mother and doting grandmother.
Today, the Alzheimer’s Association is there to enhance care and support, to advance research as the largest non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s research, and to be the leading voice for current and future generations by advocating at the state and federal level to make Alzheimer’s a national priority.
Our Walk, one of 600 nationwide, celebrates the energy and dedication of Berkshire County to end Alzheimer’s. It’s an upbeat, entertaining morning, filled with food, music and laughter. Parking will be at the Sears end of the Berkshire Mall. Volunteers will assist with a continuous loop of shuttles to and from the Walk site. You can pre-register or get more information at alzwalkMANH.org or call 1-800-272-3900.
Come greet old friends or make new ones, as we stand side by side in our fight against Alzheimer’s.
The writer represents the Berkshire Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee.