Alzheimer's disease is a great threat to our country. It is devastating not only to the individual diagnosed with the disease but also their family and friends. The number of Americans who are now affected and who will be affected in the future is great.
We cannot afford to wait any longer.
We need to come together and we need to stand up and say this is happening to us, it is happening to our families and happening to our loved ones, and we cannot wait another second. We must raise our voices, open our hearts and our wallets and finally work together to create a world without Alzheimer's. People with this disease need us to move for them and be their voice.
Memory Walk is a chance to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association, for research and also the chance for us to bring in the news cameras, reporters and microphones and have them hear the story.
Every 70 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's. By mid-century it will be every 33 seconds. It is with a heavy heart that each year we must increase the numbers reported; the number of Americans with Alzheimer's -- now more than 5.3 million -- without a cure the number in 2050 will soar to more than 16 million!
Requests for programs and services increase every month. The calls to the toll-free, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week helpline -- (800) 272-3900 -- are at record numbers. We must be there to serve and to help. The programs are at no charge to caregivers. We cannot do what we do without the financial support of our community.
Be the voice; open your heart and your wallet; and move with us so that all of us are the agents of change.
Walk with us and be there to sign a postcard that will be packaged with others addressed to your congressional representatives in Washington -- urging them to increase funding for Alzheimer's research. One voice is a whisper, but thousands of voices are a roar that cannot be ignored.
Join us Saturday, Nov. 7, at Augusta Common at 8 a.m. If you cannot be there, let your voice be heard -- call to donate or to send a postcard.
It is not only during November that we speak loudly -- we roar all year! Alzheimer's does not take a holiday; does not recognize one month over another; does not discriminate; and does not care if you are rich or poor, young or old, what race you are or what sex you are.
The battle against Alzheimer's must be won for you, for me for our children and for our nation. Together we as a community will roar and we will move . Make it happen this Saturday! Make it happen now!
Call for information or call for help at (706) 731-9060 or (800) 272-3900.
(The writer is program and services director for the Alzheimer's Association, East Central Georgia Region, based in Augusta.)