LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - It’s a disease that more than 5 million Americans are battling. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
The annual walks help raise money in efforts to find an end including the walk in Lufkin at the Ellen Trout Zoo.
“She’s getting to the stage where she gets angry and I can’t take her out in public anymore because she’s very paranoid,” said Valena Spradley, whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s since 2015.
The disease kills one in three seniors.
Spradley said some days are rough
“The challenges are when you’re working full time and you’re trying to get doctor’s appointments and you’re trying to answer those phone calls and now that she’s in assisted living with my father that has taken such a load off because now they take them to the doctors appointments and I just show up,” Spradley said.
If affects the brain and is considered a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.
“If you know somebody that’s a caregiver give them a call. Give them a, I’ve got friends that text me just saying I’m thinking about you today, I’m praying for you today that means so much," Spradley said.
She said it’s the small actions that leave a lasting impression on families with members going through the disease.
“When you’re in and out of the hospital and you’ve got this group of friends and they realize I’ve got friends that will show up at the hospital with food. They’ll say I went to Chick-Fil-A and got you some tea, here’s a Sonic drink. Those things mean so so much,” Spradley said.
The idea behind the walk was in part inspired by the Lufkin Pilot Club several years ago.
“We wanna help raise money. We want to help end Alzheimer’s. We want to do what we can to make sure that there are treatments available and treatments in the future for people so that they don’t have the burden of this disease,” said Anya Lunberg, president-elect of the group.
The 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised close to $49,000 on Saturday.
More than 570 participants took part in the walk.