Fourteen years ago Mary LaCrone, Gas, and her family made the decision to lend a hand to families struggling with dementia.
“My mother passed away in 2005,” LaCrone said. “We thought for years she had Alzheimer’s but found out it was Lewy Body Dementia.”
Her family didn’t know much about the disease and started researching it.
“After going through this we said ‘there has to be something that we can do to help others,’” she said. “It was a traumatic experience.”
It was in 1999 that her sister and a doctor at her mother’s nursing home “got the ball rolling” by creating a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
“The support group is very important,” she said. “Alzheimer’s is a one-of-a-kind disease.”
An estimated 5.4 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. One in eight people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease, according to Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.
“The support group is a must,” LaCrone said. “I walked the walk without anyone and I want to help others.”
SIX YEARS ago LaCrone organized A Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Iola. The funds raised at the walk go to help Alzheimer’s caregivers cope with the disease. LaCrone said a small percentage of the funds goes to research for Alzheimer’s.
She said the group wants to reach the funding goal of $15,000 but knows the economy has been a real struggle for supporters.
Teams and individuals participate in the walk. Each team is comprised of five walkers.
LaCrone is hoping for sunny skies the day of the event. The weather last year literally put a damper on the walk.
“Last year we had 105 walkers signed up but it rained,” she said.
The walk will start at 10 a.m., Oct. 12 on the south side of the courthouse after the opening ceremony.
After the walk there will be a meal at the senior center on North Jefferson. At the lunch there will be prizes and raffles.
Maxine Wilson has donated a quilt to be raffled. She has donated one every year. Last year they had an auction but this year they have decided to sell tickets for a drawing to win the quilt.
It is not too late to register. Those interested in participating can contact LaCrone at 365-5619 for the pre-registration forms. Online registration is also available at act.alz.org.
LaCrone is looking forward to this year’s walk and is staying optimistic in the fight against Alzheimier’s.
“I pray that someday there will be a cure,” she said.