By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer
The annual Walk the End Alzheimer’s is getting ready to lace up their sneakers on September 22, 2018 for all those who have been touched by the illness in some way. The walk will take place at Bristol Community College (BCC) and teams will come together and unite as one to raise money for the cause.
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth nursing student, Nicole Lewis defines Alzheimer’s as “a progressive degeneration of the brain which results in forgetfulness. This forgetfulness progresses to forgetting family members, friends, where they are, and later stages result in the patient being non-verbal and not being able to physically function,” states Lewis.
Alzheimer’s affects are debilitating and are difficult not only on the patients but their caregivers too. “This awful disease rips the person away from their family, friends and who they are. I am a CNA who has worked with Alzheimer patients for nearly four years,” said Lewis. “The work was tough, especially times where patients can be combative or angry, but taking care of these patients has taught me so much and given so much back to me.”
From registration to the actual the walk the day is filled with much gratitude. “The Alzheimer’s walk begins with walkers registering and identifying why the person chose to walk, are they a supportive caregiver, a loving family member or someone who knows someone with Alzheimer’s,” according to Lewis.
Soon after registering, the walk progresses into a meaningful opening ceremony. “After registering there are several speeches given by family members and other important figures in the organization and the walk sets off.
It is several miles, but it is a very rewarding experience where you are able to give back to those who cannot advocate for themselves,” said Lewis.
There are many ways in which UMass Dartmouth students, staff and faculty can get involved in helping towards finding the cure this month. One act of kindness makes all the differences in the lives of these patients. “This year, like every year we are in need of donations in order to support research to find a cure for this disease.
There are thousands of people each year that are lost to Alzheimer’s affecting many close family and friends,” said Lewis. “So, finding a cure is our biggest concern.”
The organization on campus is an easy way for students to meet with patients one on one and start making a difference. “Students…can get involved in the support of Alzheimer’s by joining our ‘Alzheimer’s Buddies’ organization on campus.
This organization pairs willing students with the elderly who have Alzheimer’s and conduct weekly visits. Pairing students with Alzheimer’s patients allows for a sense of routine to develop and gives them something to look forward to every week,” said Lewis proudly.
Lewis has been involved in the walk for almost five years and is the Vice President for Alzheimer’s Buddies and a SSPC Committee member and has put endless efforts in the cause that she keeps close to her heart. “Over the years I have noticed there is a greater variety of supporters from caregivers, to family.”
If you are interested in more information about the walk or how to get involved you can contact the Alzheimer’s Buddies at firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, registration for the walk is open and can be found at act.alz.org.
To Participate you can refer to this information below:
Bristol Community College
777 Elsbree St.,
Fall River, MA.
Time Break Down:
Registration Starts at 8:30 a.m.
Ceremony will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m.
Walk to follow at 10:00 a.m.