Editorial: Alzheimer's Tenn. marks three decades with annual WALK

Sep. 12, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

Almost every member of this community has a family member or friend that's been directly impacted by Alzheimer's disease.

The most common form of dementia, the disease robs its victims of cognitive function, worsening progressively over time.

For years the condition carried a certain stigma, one which the Alzheimer's Association says led to people avoiding treatment and diagnosis.

"Stigma around Alzheimer's disease exists, in part, due to the lack of public awareness and understanding of the disease, preventing people from seeking medical treatment when symptoms are present, receiving an early diagnosis or any diagnosis at all and living the best quality of life possible while they are able to do so," the organization said on its website.

"Stigma and lack of awareness also impacts Alzheimer's disease research," the group continued on its site. "The government funds Alzheimer's research at lower rates than other diseases, even when the cost of caring for Alzheimer's disease is significantly higher."

Groups such as Alzheimer's Tennessee strive to increase public awareness and help provide the families of those suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia with resources and referrals and counseling on caring afflicted loved ones.

Alzheimer's Tennessee is celebrating 30 years this year at their annual Smoky Mountain Alzheimer's WALK for Sevier, Cocke Jeffeson and Hamblen counties on Sept. 21.

“This is your chance to walk for your county and your country – and to make a world of difference for families in our community living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” Smoky Mountain Alzheimer’s Tennessee WALK Chairperson Barbara Joines said.

The event will be held at Pigeon Forge High School and features entertainment, food, door prizes, contests and a special tribute.

Funds raised through the event help Alzheimer's Tennessee with their outreach programs and area services, including advocating for the cause and providing funding research. 

It's a worthy charity that provides much-needed services. Join them if you can. Call 865-544-6288 for more information.