10/19/12 — Benefit walk set for this Saturday

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Benefit walk set for this Saturday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 19, 2012 1:46 PM

When Candie Marriner volunteered to co-chair this year's Alzheimer's Walk, she had no idea how close to home the cause would be.

About a year ago, her father was diagnosed with the disease.

There had been signs long before, she said, but they were easy to ignore.

Physical ailments had kept him in and out of the hospital for the two years preceding the Alzheimer's diagnosis. And he had what Mrs. Marriner calls "memory care."

"(That's) when the memory kind of plays tricks on the individual," she explained. "I think I just maybe came up with that term -- it's when someone's memory doesn't work like normal.

"I think sometimes you can't always fight the person or constantly remind them that they have got a problem."

Her family is among the fortunate, though, she said.

"I don't think that we saw the worst of what Alzheimer's could do to folks, but it was enough that I knew that I couldn't do it alone," she said. "We realized that Daddy was suffering from this and his decision-making definitely showed signs that it was questionable and maybe not to his best interest."

Bobby Alphin, of Warsaw, died Aug. 15. He was 75.

"We always tried to stay in his world and not bring him to ours. It always made things a lot easier for him."

Like many who have loved ones with any type of dementia, one of the biggest challenges is watching them struggle with the awareness that they are slipping away.

"It really frightened him because he felt like we were trying to say he was crazy," Mrs. Marriner said. "In the beginning, it's the saddest thing because they're not in one world."

She had previously worked at Sterling House several years ago, which better-prepared her to deal with her own situation and apply different techniques she had seen used there.

Had she known her dad's struggle with Alzheimer's would result in his passing in the midst of her coordinating this year's Alzheimer's walk, she admits she might have passed on the co-chair role.

"But I had a very good committee," she said. "The resources that I had through this committee helped make some really good decisions in the process. I felt more compassion for the walk because of seeing my dad day-to-day."

She learned firsthand about community resources, which now she shares with others.

"Alzheimer's NC is a great support. There's local support groups here in Wayne County. There's financial support that can be given," she said. "The biggest thing is the education that it can provide.

"I think when you're dealing with this disease, the one part that everybody needs is education."

The third annual Neuse Region Alzheimer's Walk, encompassing Wayne, Duplin and Greene counties, will take place Saturday at Wayne Community College. Sponsored by Alzheimer's North Carolina Inc., all proceeds raised remain in North Carolina.

Registration will begin at 9 a.m.

Teams are still needed to participate in the 1.3-mile walk, which starts at 10 a.m.

Awards will be given out around 11:30, Mrs. Marriner said, including ones for top individual fundraiser, top team fundraiser, oldest walker, best theme (costume or decoration of the tent) and best exhibit table,

Exhibitors will be on hand offering information and resources to help families dealing with the disease, and there will also be food and beverages, raffle prizes and entertainment.

"We'll also have a memory wall that allows people to honor their loved one or (put a photo up) in memory of them," Mrs. Marriner said. "It's a temporary monument that pays tribute to those with the disease who have passed on."

For more information or to register in advance, visit the website www.alznc.org or contact the co-chairwomen, Mrs. Marriner at 919-722-7155 or Georgia Dees at 919-731-6299.