Posted by Lauren
I have been a little MIA on the blog this weekend, but I actually have two really fun things to write about from Saturday. Friday was a barrel of boring – cleaning and HULUing all night long. I haven’t had a Friday night at home in a long time and it was nice to straighten things up and catch up on my favorite shows.
Saturday morning I drove to downtown San Jose to meet my high school bff Sarah and her family friends for the Alzheimer Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Earlier in the week, Sarah told me about her plans to walk and I instantly wanted to be a part of it. Our Grandma Marie suffered for many years with Alzheimer’s – so the cause is near and dear to my heart.
Right after checking in (no lines, so many volunteers, very well organized!) I headed over to the Promise Flower tent. From their website:
Participants will receive a Promise Flower, making a commitment to fulfill their promise to remember, to honor, to care and to fight Alzheimer’s disease by participating in the [Walk's] Promise Garden. Through color, these Promise Flowers represent the diverse reasons participants have gathered… Together, the Promise Flowers create a dynamic, colorful and meaningful garden. Participants are then welcome to stroll through the garden post-Walk, read each other’s stories and take their Promise Flower home as remembrance of their Walk experience and their loved ones.
I met up with Sarah and the Herrera Team, who were there to remember and honor Annette’s parents who developed Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death – it is a disease of the brain that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. An estimated 5.4 million Americans have the disease and it accounts for about 70% of dementia cases. Symptoms vary widely and go beyond typical age-related changes:
- memory loss
- problem solving challenges
- difficulty with familiar tasks
- time/place confusion
- trouble understanding visuals and spatial relations
- misplacing things and inability to retrace steps
- decreased/poor judgment
- withdrawn from work/social activities
- changes in mood/personality
We passed by the Promise Garden at the start of our 3 mile walk through downtown San Jose…
Yellow – I am a Caregiver or am walking in honor of an individual living with the disease
Purple – I lost someone to Alzheimer’s
Orange – I support the vision of a world without Alzheimer’s
Blue – I have Alzheimer’s
The volunteers for this walk were absolutely amazing. They were so full of energy! The course wined past the Tech Museum, the Fairmont, San Jose State University, the cathedral, and back to Arena Green next to HP Pavilion. Sarah and I talked the entire time – it’s been a while since we saw each other and had time to catch up!
Scientists are not sure where the trouble starts in the brain when someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. Protein fragment deposits (plaques) build up in spaces between nerve cells in the brain and twisted fibers, called tangles, gather inside the nerve cells. People with Alzheimer’s develop far more tangles and plaques than normal people as they age, specifically in the memory area of the brain (hippocampus I think).
Hopefully the Alzheimer’s Association’s research, fundraising, advanced care, and awareness programs continue to make such large advances. I definitely want to get more involved and do this walk again next year! If, for some reason, you feel compelled to make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, here is my participant link.
Question: What organizations and non-profits are you most passionate about?
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