By LOIS KINDLE
More than 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and statistically you or someone you know may very well be among them in years to come. It’s the only one of the top-10 causes of death in the United States with no-known cure, the fifth-leading cause of death among adults over 65 and sixth-leading cause of death for all adults nationwide.
This dreaded and fatal disease causes a person’s memory to progressively deteriorate, the mind to lose its ability to focus or concentrate, and the body finally forgets how to function.
That’s why it’s so important for everyone to pitch in whatever way they can to help Alzheimer’s Association researchers find a cure and fund the programs and services supporting caregivers and folks living with the disease.
This year’s 16th annual South Shore Walk to End Alzheimer’s is set to take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Oct. 14 at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1971 Haverford Ave. ABC Action News anchor Jamison Ular is returning as emcee.
You can form a team and register it or join an existing one to physically participate and raise funds or donate to an existing team online at https://act.alz.org/southshorefl; come to the event, cheer everyone on and make a tax-deductible donation on site; become a sponsor or vendor; or write a check to the Alzheimer’s Association, earmark it for the South Shore Walk and mail it to the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, 14010 Roosevelt Blvd., No. 709, Clearwater, FL 33762.
For many, participating in the walk is an annual affair.
“This is personal to me,” said Edward Jones advisor and event committee chairman Sean Andrews. “Alzheimer’s took my grandmother in 2011, her father and all three of her sisters, so there’s a good chance it could also take my mother and me.”
Others are committed for similar reasons.
“Having lived the journey with my parents and mother-in-law, I feel the urgency for [both] people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers,” said Connie Lesco, founder of the South Shore Walk to End Alzheimer’s and this year’s sponsorship chairwoman. “After all these years, I continue doing this because I believe our small, grassroots event in Sun City Center makes a difference.”
Noelle Bramble and her family, Team Purple Power with Captain Cure, are equally dedicated.
“For eight years, we cared for three members of our family at the same time who had Alzheimer’s [and ultimately succumbed to it],” she said. “The disease not only debilitates the person who has it but also the family of caregivers. It overtakes the lives of everyone involved.
“My grandmother currently has Alzheimer’s, so we’re walking for her and everyone who has or is affected by this horrible disease,” Bramble continued. “It’s our way of giving back.”
Edward Jones, the national sponsor of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s since 2016, is joined this year in sponsoring the South Shore Walk by Freedom Plaza, the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, FirstLight Home Care, The Inn at Aston Gardens, HCA Florida South Shore Hospital, Replays Family Sports Grill, Crestmark Pharmacy Services, Inspired Living, Mortellaro Law, Humana, Senior Helpers, Trinity Home Healthcare, Visiting Angels Senior Home Care, the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce and Cano Health.
Any local business is invited to have a table at the event by contacting Beth Weest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, call Andrews at 813-649-8021 or Lesko at 813-927-1147.