150 turn out for Alzheimer's walk

Putting one foot in front of the other is the only way to reach a goal and Alzheimer's Association members took it literally as they held their 13th Walk to End Alzheimer's — formerly known as the Memory Walk — Saturday morning at Comanche Trail Park. “This year, we changed the name, have new signage and are emphasizing how we are walking for a cause and that there is so much more hope with all the new advancements,” said Debbie Erdwurm, Alzheimer's Association regional director. This year, an estimated 150 people attended the walk, which according to Erdwurm, is the usual number. The event took off with a few opening words from Malinda Flenniken, general manager of KBST, followed by a flag ceremony and the playing of the national anthem. “This year is really hard and special because the Promise Garden is in the honor of Nancy Jones — director of RSVP and strong supporter and starter of the Alzheimer's Walk in Big Spring,” Erdwurm said. Jones passed away earlier this year.Alzheimer's has moved up to the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth for those over 60. There are five million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer's. “This is one of those things where people don't want to get diagnosed because they think if there is nothing to do about it then why do I want to know,” Erdwurm said. “With this disease, early detection is the key. The medicines won't stop it, but they can provide a much better quality of life.”By people showing up for the walks and awareness being raised, Congress better understands how important this cause is to people and it's one more reason for them to not cut funding, according to Erdwurm. “We need to stand up and show them this is something that is important and the funding doesn't need to be decreased,” Erdwurm said. “I encourage people to become an activist in this cause and show why it's important to you.”