Walking for a cure

Published 4:35 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

Almost one year ago, three women had a conversation at a Decatur County Schools reception and came up with an idea in order to bring awareness to a special cause. Next weekend, Thea Burke, Emily Yent and Kathy Varner are turning their dream into a reality with the first Bainbridge Alzheimer’s Walk.

For Burke, Alzheimer’s is a disease she knows all too well. Burke’s mother passed away from the disease last year and that’s when she came in contact with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Burke was a nurse for years and reports Alzheimer’s is one of the six leading diagnoses in the United States and out of the top diseases it is the only one with no treatment, cure or preventative measures. Because of the nature of this disease, the women found it extremely important to give their profit to the Alzheimer’s Association, which donates 79 percent of all profits to research.

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“So much progress has been made for heart disease, cancer and lung disease, but no one can say that about Alzheimer’s,” Burke said. “It’s just devastating.”

Burke realizes that this isn’t a disease that just targets one type of person. She said it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been affected by this disease.  For families who have just had a relative diagnosed she encourages them to call 1-800-272-3900. The number is a 24/7 helpline that can answer any question people may have.

“You can’t reason with someone who is unreasonable,” Burke said. “That’s why this number is so helpful. They can help you talk the person out of a walk in the middle of the night.”

Burke said the walk will be something very uplifting for many people, who have dealt with this situation.

“The walk is not an athletic event, but it is a symbolic event to show that we join with the Alzheimer’s Association to find a cure for the disease,” Varner said.

It will take place on the square and go down towards Shotwell Street on the morning of Oct. 21.

Burke has been very pleased with the community involvement so far. The ladies had originally set a goal to raise $30,000, but surpassed that goal a while back. They have now doubled that and plan to raise $60,000. Burke said they are currently at 81 percent of their goal number and have almost 200 people registered to walk.

Burke said she is so thankful for all the people who have been willing to step up, give and help find a cure.

She invites everyone to come out and walk, free of charge next Saturday at 9:30 a.m. If anyone still wants to register, they may do so between 8-9 a.m. at Willis Park that morning.

Anyone who is not able to walk can still donate, Varner said. Donations can be made online by accessing the Bainbridge walk on www.alz.org/walk. People can click on “Find your walk” and enter 39819 zip code and choose the Bainbridge walk. People can also donate in person at a Bank night on Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 5-7 p.m. at Edward Jones/Emily Yent’s office in downtown Bainbridge.