The numbers are pretty daunting. Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s Disease, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in this country.
Statistics show that one in three seniors dies from Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and that it kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
A total of 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is projected to grow to nearly 14 million people by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
On June 22, members of the Corbin Kiwanis Club will be walking to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s Disease and money for the Alzheimer’s Association of Kentucky.
“It is a walk to benefit Alzheimer’s. It is not a quote officially sanctioned walk so we can’t use any trademark information, such as ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s,’ which is an Alzheimer’s Association copyright, but we wanted a walk,” said Paul Matney, one of the event organizers.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Matney said that his mother-in-law, Carol Croley, died from Lewy body dementia, which is similar to Alzheimer’s Disease. He, his wife, Tammy, and several of her relatives usually participate in the Alzheimer’s walk that is held each fall in Jellico. It is the closest Alzheimer’s walk to Corbin. The next closest is Berea.
After last year’s event in Jellico, they decided that a walk needed to be held closer to home, and reached out to the Corbin Kiwanis Club for support in organizing a walk here.
Matney said several club members have relatives, who have been affected by the disease, and agreed to participate in the event.
All proceeds from the event will go to the Alzheimer’s Association of Kentucky. Checks should be made payable to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Matney said that he doesn’t know how many people will participate in the walk, or how much money it will generate, but that organizers would like to raise between $5,000 – $10,000.
“We’d like to raise however much we can,” he noted. “This is our first time to try this.”
The Kiwanis Alzheimer’s Walk will be held starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 22, at the Corbin High School Track.
Matney said that all the participants will probably walk a couple of laps and then there will be an open microphone for people to speak about why they are there.
Two people have already agreed to speak, who have had relatives affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, including Laurel Jeffries from Williamsburg and Madgel Miller from London.
“We want everybody to feel that they are welcome. We want everybody to feel that they can share their story, and that there are others, who have had relatives that they have lost to Alzheimer’s or that presently have Alzheimer’s. They are not alone. We all want to band together and do something to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s,” Matney added.
After the open microphone portion of the event, Matney said the group would likely walk one more lap to conclude it. He anticipates the event lasting two to three hours.
Matney noted that he got the idea from an open microphone from a moment a few years ago at Relay for Life.
The open microphone was held at 2:30 a.m., and one young boy spoke up about his papaw, who passed away from cancer, and that he didn’t want any other papaws to die from cancer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.
The registration fee for the Kiwanis Alzheimer’s Walk is $20 for adults, $10 for ages 12-17, and free for children under 12 years of age.
There are three sponsorship levels for the event for businesses or individuals, who want to further support the effort.
It is $500 for a gold sponsorship, which includes five free registrations. It is $250 for a silver sponsorship, which includes two free registrations. It is $100 for a bronze sponsorship, which includes one free registration.
Water and fruit will be provided at the event.
For more information about the walk, contact Matney at 528-1134.