10/21/07 — Memory Walk draws hundreds

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Memory Walk draws hundreds

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 21, 2007 2:01 AM

For more than 500 people, Saturday morning was a time to save minds.

They were each "taking steps to end Alzheimer's" by participating in the Neuse Regional Memory Walk.

Before the walk, inspiration came from a prayer asking for care and hope for those with the disease.

And after Madeline Edwards sang the national anthem, committee members JoAnne Daniels and Alice Watkins told the audience, "Let's move," showing the reason for the "MOVE" on the front of walkers' shirts.

The Spring Creek High School Marching Band banged on the drum to officially start the one- and three-mile-walk.

Last year, the walk raised $87,000 for Alzheimer's research, and this year, they hope to surpass that.

"We are well on the way," Mrs. Daniels said.

She said that they have two less counties that are participating in the walk this year, but she is hoping that won't hinder their efforts.

"We have had an awful lot of interest," she said.

And the walk is not just an individual thing -- it is becoming a family event, she added.

"We saw families out here today with dogs and strollers," she said. "We are real happy with that because Alzheimer's is a disease that affects everyone in the family."

Mrs. Watkins agreed, and added that the disease is not a discriminatory one.

"For the disease, it doesn't make any difference who you are, if it's a baby or a grandmother," she said. "We're seeing more and more of early onset which means that younger people are getting Alzheimer's. It doesn't just hit older people anymore. There are people who are getting it that have young children."

And the walk is working to address those issues as well, they said.

Both Mrs. Daniels and Mrs. Watkins were very pleased with the turnout.

"I was just looking out there and thinking, 'Wow, we might have close to 1,000 people here this year,'" Mrs. Watkins said.

More than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer's, which is a progressive and fatal brain disease, according to the Alzheimer Association. It destroys brain cells and causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States,