published: Sunday, October 06, 2013
Teams, donations sought for Alzheimer's Walk
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Alzheimer's is fast becoming a bigger part of the world's medical condition epidemic with 35 million people worldwide currently suffering from the disease (and dementia) and that number expecting to triple over the next 20 years to more than 115 million.
According to a study conducted by the Alzheimer's Association, in the United States alone, there are 3.5 million people suffering from the disease. The study concluded that every 68 seconds someone in the States develops Alzheimer's.
Though the numbers seem impossible to comprehend and even more impossible to lower, there is something that anyone can do to help with the fight; even right here in Highlands County.
Cindy Canales is the new program specialists for the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. Canales' territory spans Highlands, Hardee, Hendry and Glades counties. Canales is described as a hard worker by Alzheimer's caregiver and walk volunteer/co-coordinator Penny Kocarek.
"She's definitely a go-getter," Kocarek said of Canales.
Canales has a meticulous plan to bring a helping hand to the many residents, caregivers and family members dealing with the disease.
"My goal is raise awareness, to help educate and provide support to caregivers. I welcome anyone who is concerned about their memory or simply curious as to what the Memory Mobile is, to come on board when the Memory Mobile makes three stops this month at the Avon Park, Sebring, and Lake Placid Memorial Library's," Canales said. "There is nothing to lose; you can only gain more knowledge and awareness."
Another big part of the Alzheimer's Association plan to conquer the disease is the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's that takes place in cities all across the nation.
Highlands County Walk takes place annual in Sebring where over 100 participants, teams, volunteers, supporters, caregivers, family members and even Alzheimer's patients gather together to raise funds and awareness.
This year's walk will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. in downtown Sebring. Though the walk is only a few "steps" away, there's still plenty to be done and the coordinators are seeking the help of the community to get the event completed.
"We're still confirming teams and there are still some teams that are working to get together," said Kocarek. "It's looking like we may have the same amount of people as last year, but I'm hoping we can get a lot more."
The goal set for the fundraiser is down this year to $10,000. Money can be donated and collected for the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter Walk to End Alzheimer's through late November.
"We've only raised $4,300 so far, so we have a ways to go," said Kocarek.
The annual walk is the stable event for every chapter providing a large amount of funds for the cause all while raising awareness about the disease.
Funds raised are split between medical care, caregivers and family needs in the community.
Though it is a big job Canales knows it is a necessary one in hopes of bringing light into the lives of those who are touched by the disease.
"I knew that by assuming the position as the new program specialist for the Alzheimer's Association-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter that I was taking on a huge responsibility having four counties to cover. With any new journey that we decide to embark on we know that we will face many obstacles, but in the end it is up to us, the individual, to overcome them," Canales said. "Alzheimer's affects everyone. It does not discriminate. It does not know boundaries. The only way to fight against Alzheimer's disease is to talk about it and not keep it hidden. "
Any individual, business, organization or family wishing to participate in the Sebring Walk to End Alzheimer's on Saturday, Oct. 12 can visit www.alz.org/flgulfcoast/. Type in the city zip code to find a specific walk. Teams may be formed and registered at no cost on the website.
Donations for the walk including breakfast food for participants, water, snacks, become a sponsor, donation information or anything else contact Kocarek at 633-0375.
Taking action (by: Blindman~ - 10/7/2013)
If your loved one has good insurance take them to a neurologist and ask them about Aricept (approved to treat all stages)
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