Archived Story

Still time to help

Published 10:42pm Monday, September 23, 2013

Saturday morning turned out to be a perfect almost-first day of fall — and a perfect day for a walk. With the weather cooperating so well, more than 300 walkers and dozens of volunteers turned out to Constant’s Wharf Park for an event most of them would not have missed, even if temperatures had been colder and the skies gray and rainy.

The Western Tidewater Walk to End Alzheimer’s has become an important fundraising event for the Southeast Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, with a goal this year of $47,500. The Suffolk event is one of six similar fundraising walks held this time of year around the organization’s service area, which extends from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Farmville.

By the time they embarked on their one- and three-mile walks around Suffolk, the participants in the event had raised nearly $38,000 in donations and pledges, and they have until Nov. 30 to continue raising money. Gino V. Colombara, president of the chapter, said he has no doubt they will reach their goal, which is a good thing considering the good work the Alzheimer’s Association does on behalf of Alzheimer’s victims and their families.

As with many such organizations, the Alzheimer’s Association raises money to support research into conquering the disease that Colombara describes as a “tsunami waiting to happen.” More than five million people in the United States suffer from the disease, and the number is expected to triple by 2050, as the American population ages. During the same period the amount spent on treating the disease is expected to rise from $203 billion to $1.2 trillion.

But the Alzheimer’s Association does much more than fund research. Among other things, it sponsors 4,500 support groups around the nation for victims, their family members and their caregivers and provides education, advice and customized action plans to help them cope with the disease, which steals brain function and memories and makes its victims more and more helpless as it progresses.

There is still time to support the organization’s fund drive this year. And there’s always time to learn more about how it can help those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. To do either, visit www.alz.org or call 1-800-272-3900.

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