The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 12, 2012

Organizers gearing up for Saturday’s Alzheimer’s Walk

Staff Writer

TARBORO — A walk at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital Saturday morning will raise money for Alzheimer’s research and support to those impacted by the disease.

“It’s the second most feared disease, with cancer being the first,” said Myra McCall, a walk coordinator. “Families need to know they’re not the only ones dealing with this. There’s strength in numbers. There is some help out there.”

Walk registration begins at 9 a.m. The walk will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the hospital’s track.

“We’ve already raised about $6,000,” said Vickie Hale, also a walk coordinator. “All the money raised will stay in North Carolina.”

McCall said participation in the walk has increased every year since she helped bring it back to Tarboro in 2010. This year, she said there would be “lots of good things going on” at the walk, including performances by the Tarboro High School cheerleaders, PT 120 Praise Band, the gospel group Thankful Heart and a dancer from Art in Motion. Vendors such as the Office on Aging will offer educational resources. Rebecca Jarrard, local author of the book “When Alzheimer’s Touches a Family,” will speak at the walk, as well.

“It’s educational, it’s fun,” said McCall. The walk is open to people of all ages; it is not a race.

“You can walk as many laps or as few as you want,” said McCall.

Participants in the walk also will have the opportunity to honor a loved one by attaching a photo to the Alzheimer’s Memory Wall. McCall witnessed her father’s struggle with dementia, and Hale has seen the impacts of Alzheimer’s on patients in her 28 years as a nurse.

“Sometimes they might recognize them [their family members] and sometimes they might not. It just breaks your heart,” said Hale.

In North Carolina, 170,000 people have Alzheimer’s. Without prevention or a cure, that number is estimated to increase to 210,000 by 2025.

“This is not a minor problem in our world today,” said McCall. “This has really gotten bigger as time’s gone on, with the aging population and people living longer.”

Saturday’s walk is one of many throughout the state to raise money for Alzheimers North Carolina, an organization dedicated to supporting Alzheimers patients and families, and funding research on the disease with the goal of finding a cure.