NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Rain sent family members, caregivers and health providers of Alzheimer's patients indoors at a Nacogdoches benefit walk. Learning to adapt comes with Alzheimer's treatment, so the rain didn't dampen spirits. They just kicked the event off indoors.
An emcee shouts into a microphone, "We are here today to lead and end to the Alzheimer's Disease. Let 'em know it." He's answered by a cheering crowd of several hundred.
By the end of opening ceremonies, a ray of sunshine appeared allowing the Satterwhite family to take their ray of hope outdoors.
Close family members are among the 340,000 Texans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Susan Satterwhite goes down the list of loved ones with the disease, "My mother, my sister-in-law, and my oldest brother."
The genetic history leads to an annoying thought. "Yes, yes, we all are, very concerned we're probably going to have it also," shared Satterwhite.
The hunch can most likely be confirmed thanks to a recent breakthrough by researchers.
"We have a new blood test that has come out recently that's supposed to accurately diagnose between 98% to 99% accuracy, which is very important because right now the only 100% certain way to diagnose is post-mortem," said Michael Molina, the East Texas Regional Outreach Coordinator for the Houston and Southeast Texas Alzheimer's Association.
So when keys are misplaced, names forgotten or confusion arises, will the Satterwhites want to know if it's the early stages of Alzheimer's?
"I don't want to know," says Susan. "You can't stop it. There's no cure for it. I just want to live the rest of my life as happy as I can."
Jessica Satterwhite, Susan's niece thinks differently. "Eventually there's going to be a cure. Why not know now? That way I can see if my kids are going to have it."
According to the Alzheimer's Association, scientists need two billion dollars a year to increase the chances of finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. The care of Alzheimer's patients is predicted to reach trillions of dollars in the next decade.