Walking miles for a cure
For anyone who has watched the light from their loved ones' eye dim due to Alzheimer's, the urgency to find a cure for the brain-shriveling disease is real. In partnership with the Oregon Alzheimer's Association, residents of Charbonneau and SpringRidge at Charbonneau have been raising money to fund Alzheimer's research by hosting an annual walk for the past six years.
Out of the 5.5 million Americans estimated to suffer from Alzheimer's disease, 63,000 reside in Oregon. As the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., it is the only one that cannot be prevented or cured.
As program director at SpringRidge at Charbonneau — a senior care facility with many residents living with dementia and Alzheimer's — Cindy Foster said that she and other staff were inspired to create their own version of The Walk to End Alzheimer's based off of Alzheimer's Association's annual event.
"We thought that instead of just having our staff make loops around our building, we decided to go in with the Charbonneau neighborhood," Foster said.
Going on a three-mile route around Charbonneau, Foster said the walk is a way for community members to show their support for those living with Alzheimer's while effecting a positive outcome by donating to research. Held in the spring, over the course of the last six years, the Charbonneau walk has raised nearly $25,000.
"We donate 100 percent of the money that we raise to the Alzheimer's Association of Oregon," Foster said. "They count our walk with their event."
The Alzheimer's Association is the largest voluntary health organization in the U.S. for Alzheimer's support and research. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, while providing and improving methods of care for those at risk and affected.
"Every dollar raised at the Walk benefits the local community, from free care and support resources to research initiatives and advocacy efforts," said Stacey Smith, marketing and communications specialist for the Alzheimer's Association, Oregon Chapter.
"In 2016, the Portland Walk (including Charbonneau) raised more than $525,000, contributing to more than $82 million raised nation-
wide for care, support and research efforts for those impacted by Alzheimer's."