Saturday, August 30, 2014

Alzheimer’s Walk Season: I Challenge You…

Sedalia Memory Walk 1998
We are entering Walk to End Alzheimer’s season, and I challenge you to join the fight against Alzheimer’s by participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s or donating $100 to support someone who is walking.

I first walked in 1998 with a small group—a couple from Slater, two people from the Alzheimer’s Association, and from Sedalia—Jim and me. Oh, let’s not forget the dog, Victoria. That was it, the Sedalia Memory Walk, 1998.

We are gearing up for Walk season and chipping away at our Sedalia Walk goal of $34,000. Our walk is one week from today—September 6. This morning, I went online and donated $100 in honor of Jim’s birthday. He would have been sixty-nine Wednesday.

Fundraising for a disease is hard work, and it seems that without a “fun challenge” it’s hard to compete for charity dollars. Social media has been abuzz about the ice bucket challenge for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The ice water videos have gone viral, netting $100 million in August for ALS. The movement is still going strong, and is in fact accelerating and gained over $65 million in one week. I’ve seen videos ranging from my grandchildren to mega-star celebrities like Dolly Parton.

I have to say that the ALS Association has been brilliant to latch onto the idea which they credit to Pete Frates, a 29-year-old former Boston College baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. The ALS Association sought to trademark the “Ice bucket challenge” but withdrew the applications after public concern.

Why the heck would the public be concerned? Well, for one thing, the ice bucket challenge began as a pro athlete’s stunt giving $100 to a charity of choice. The dousing began with golfer Greg Norman and motorcycle racer Jeremy McGrath. If you declined the challenge, you were supposed to give $100 to a charity of your choice.

ALS is a horrible disease and when the ice bucket challenge turned exclusively to ALS it gained attention and a huge amount of funding.  According to ALS’s fact sheet 12,000 people in the U.S. have the disease, and my heart goes out to those who suffer from this debilitating motor neuron disease.

Let’s shift to ALZ (Alzheimer’s). We weren’t clever enough to latch onto the ice bucket challenge. Our premier fundraiser is the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Our 600 Walks nationwide support more than five million Americans with Alzheimer’s. Nearly everyone you meet has lost a beloved relative or friend to this fatal disease. As we age, our chances of developing the disease increases to nearly fifty-percent. Every single one of us has a stake in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

So my challenge to all my family and friends is not to douse yourself with ice water, but to put on walking shoes and head to the nearest Walk to End Alzheimer’s. If you can’t participate in a walk, donate $100 to your local Walk, and then challenge five friends to Walk or donate $100. It is easy to donate online at!

Okay, so I realize that isn’t nearly as much fun as watching someone get drenched with a bucket of ice water, but Alzheimer’s is a scary disease and without a cure, it will become even scarier in the next twenty years as we baby boomers age. So consider yourself challenged, and share the opportunity to End Alzheimer’s Now!

You can donate to Jim’s Team at

copyright © August 2014 by L.S. Fisher 

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