According to Alzheimer’s Association’s Web site, “Alzheimer’s Action Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the disease and the need for more education, support and research. Millions of families across the United States and the world are affected by this disease.” The association encouraged everyone to wear purple on Sept. 21 to show their support for fighting the disease. Beaumont Health Care Center did its part to by holding a balloon release and concert for patients to raise public awareness of the disease.
“We’re doing the balloon release to honor all of our loved ones here,” said Laura Simmons, director of medical records. “All donations will go to the Alzheimer’s Association for awareness and treatment to support patients with Alzheimer’s.”
Along with the balloon release, the residents were treated to a concert by Britt Godwin, a local gospel and country singer and employee of Altus Hospice.
“I perform a little of everything for the residents, just whatever they want to hear,” said Godwin. “I usually do some old rock ‘n’ roll and some country — a little variety.”
The workers danced and the patients clapped along with the music, as both seemed to really enjoy themselves.
5K Walk to End Alzheimer’s
The next event to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, the 5K Walk to End Alzheimer’s, will be on Nov. 3 at Crockett Street in Beaumont.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association Web site, “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It unites the entire community — family, friends, co-workers, social and religious groups and more — in a display of combined strength and dedication in the fight against the devastating disease.”
The event is free and open to the public, and interested participants can register at www.alz.org/walk  or can register the day of the event at 8 a.m., with the walk kicking off at 9 a.m. Valero will be providing barbeque for the occasion. Parents can bring their children, as there will be a kiddie tent with games and crafts or children are welcome to walk along with their parents or grandparents. Dogs are welcome to walk with their masters as well.
This year’s walk will have one special addition, said Clarissa Urban, regional coordinator of the Alzheimer’s Association Southeast Texas Chapter.“We’ve added something called ‘The Promise Garden’ to the walk,” said Urban. “We have four different flower types that we are going to hand out to each person that registers to walk — purple is for those individuals who have lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s, blue is for individuals that have Alzheimer’s, yellow is if they are a caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s, orange is for individuals who are walking to support the cause.”
Each registrant will get a paper flower and during the ceremony they will hold it up, said Urban. Participants will also be able to write someone’s name on the flower if they lost somebody or in honor of someone with Alzheimer’s.
“During the walk they can walk with the flower, or we can plant them so they can see afterwards,” she said. “It’s just a visual reminder to honor those we’re caring for and a reminder of those we’ve lost to this disease.”
Another new venture for the Alzheimer’s Association will be Beaumont’s first Family Portrait Luncheon. The event is scheduled for Nov. 14 and will honor family members and friends who have been affected by Alzheimer’s. Special to the event will be special guest speaker Lisa Genova, author of “Still Alice,” a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman’s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The event is open to the public and tickets are $50, with proceeds going to support dementia educational programs and awareness in Southeast Texas and helping to fund research to end the disease. The luncheon will take place at the Beaumont Country Club located at 5355 Pine Street.
According to Alzheimer’s Association, one in eight older Americans has Alzheimer’s Disease, 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease, and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.