ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – From start to finish, there was nothing but love, support, and hope at this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
For Harriet Watson and her family, this was far more than just another walk. Her brother was diagnosed when he was just 50.
“I hated when he couldn’t remember a lot of things, some of the family members he couldn’t remember,” she said.
They were among the more than 2,000 participants, many sharing stories of how they watched their loved ones’ minds slowly decline.
“First they lose the fact that their loved one doesn’t know who they are, then after that, it’s the actual death,” said Laura Aranda, with Greenwood Place Assisted Living and Memory Care.
Spencer Graves’ mother was just 55 when she was diagnosed.
“My mom actually handed the car keys to my dad and said ‘If that’s true if that’s what is happening, I don’t want to drive anymore,'” he said.
Participants held flowers of various colors, each corresponding to their relationship to Alzheimer’s, whether that be a caregiver, an ally in the fight, someone battling the disease, or someone who has lost someone. Atlanta News First was a proud media sponsor, with anchor Brooks Baptiste emceeing and sharing his very own experience.
“In the case of my grandfather, there wasn’t really a conversation about how he was slowly but surely declining,” said Baptiste.
Baptiste hopes events like this can bring more awareness to the debilitating disease, and raise money for research.
“Something specifically that we see in the black community…people do not want to address this challenge that is really plaguing our community,” he said.
Organizers said this year’s walk and fundraiser was a hit.
“We’ve raised $521,000 and some change,” said Amy Richardson, senior director of development, Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia chapter.
The organization hopes to keep that momentum alive, as researchers race to find better treatment options and ultimately a cure.
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