Moultrie Observer

Local News

July 9, 2008

Alzheimer’s disease devastating, family member says

Plans under way for 2nd annual Memory Walk

MOULTRIE — With planning for the second annual Memory Walk under way, the Alzheimer’s Association would like to remind everyone what it is they are trying to eradicate.

Sandra Askew, an employee with Colquitt County Schools, said her mother, Mary Greer, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2002 and died of it Feb. 1. She was initially diagnosed with dementia before it was found she had Alzheimer’s after she went through a variety of stages related to the disease.

“It was very scary for me not being familiar with it,” Askew said.

Greer was able to get around on her own for most of the six years with the disease, but Askew said Greer could not remember almost anything recent. She would lose her keys and become afraid at night, among other things often associated with Alzheimer’s patients.

A good thing about having the disease was Greer did not realize her life had dramatically changed, Askew said. Greer would often revert to childhood memories but could not remember daily things, such as what she ate for lunch. This is common with most Alzheimer’s patients also.

“They’re carrying on their daily routine,” Askew said, “they just don’t realize it.”

Dan Phillips, chairman for the Moultrie Memory Walk, said Alzheimer’s is a disease like cancer and heart disease but does not get the same recognition. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., recently overtaking diabetes; someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 71 seconds. There are currently 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s — more than 199,000 of them in Georgia.

The Memory Walk is a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association, much like Relay For Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, Phillips said. This year’s walk will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Moultrie Technical College Veterans Parkway campus, starting with registration at 9 a.m. The goal of this year’s Memory Walk is to raise $14,000.

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