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Fight against Alzheimer's takes many roles - KOAM TV 7

Fight against Alzheimer's takes many roles

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Joplin's Landreth Park served as a two-mile track for the Walk to End Alzheimer's. The event is the largest one nation-wide for the Alzheimer's Association, serving as the branded event since 1989 in over 600 communities.

Upon checking in, participants are given a pinwheel flower in a given color. Blue flowers represent those currently fighting Alzheimer's, yellow indicates loss of a loved one to the disease, etc. The flowers are then planted in a garden at the starting line. 

Kirk Bright held a yellow flower. 

"My mother was into horticulture and a lot of flowers, she was a country girl, and so I knew she had Alzheimer’s the day she couldn’t start remembering her plants," Bright said.

Renee Wild takes care of people with Alzheimer's as part of the Visiting Angels living assistance group. She does her best to keep her patients minds active.

“Typical day I go in and I make breakfast and I make sure he has a shower, stimulate him with activities, reading, walking, just simple things to jog his mind," Wild said, "and sometimes they loop and they’ll repeat the same thing 20-30 times and they’ll go to the past, so you have to go to where they are to communicate with them.”

Sadly, five million people in the United States are diagnosed with Alzheimer's. That number is sadly only going to increase.

"The reason we are having the walks is because more and more families are being affected. That’s the reason we’re seeing revenue increase, that’s the reason we are seeing people focused on Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s research," Alzheimer's Association events coordinator Nate Reed said.

Reed said that if a cure is not found, every single person will be affected in one way or another by the disease by the year 2050. Making the walk and fundraisers of utmost importance.

"It’s an event for everybody because even though you may not have been personally affected, you may not have a family member living with Alzheimer’s, that is unfortunately, more than likely a yet,” Reed said.

Funds raised stay local. Dollars will go to various programming and help programs for victims or families of Alzheimer's patients.

Nationally, the Walk to End Alzheimer's has raised $63 million to date. The association has a goal to double that amount in the next five years.

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