Groups raise Alzheimer’s awareness

Published 10:04 am Friday, June 30, 2017

The City Park pavilion was alive with the sound of music and activity as about 30 people came to back Alzheimer’s disease research.

The Longest Day program presented last week by the Mu Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority had two goals, to raise money for research and create an awareness of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking, language skills and behavioral changes.

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, or loss of intellectual function, among people aged 65 and older.

People attending the program enjoyed snacks, participated in Zumba and line dancing, and some played cards as they watched the activity.

“When we set out to do this, we set out with a goal to raise $1,908; we raised $2,500,” said Pam Newton, who chaired the event with her aunt, June Thomas. “Our national organization set out to raise $100,000. Right now, they have raised $106,000.”

Newton had a personal reason for getting involved. Her grandmother, Corrie Chiplin, and great aunt, Viola Chiplin, both died from Alzheimer’s.

Vicksburg internist Dr. Dan Edney said 5.5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, and 1,000 people die from the disease monthly. Ten percent of the population over 65, he added, has Alzheimer’s.

“We have reduced the death rate from stroke and heart attack by 15 percent, but the death rate from Alzheimer’s continues to grow,” he said.

One of the problems in dealing with Alzheimer’s, he said, is the lack of knowledge about the disease.

“We don’t know what causes it,” Edney said, adding more research was needed and people needed to be informed about the disease.

And the sorority was ready to provide it.

“We have information on Alzheimer’s, we’ve got Zumba and line dancing, because physical activity is one way to prevent the disease, we’ve got card games because mental stimulation is another way to prevent it,” said Trina Warren, sorority program chairman. “And we have healthy snacks like fruit and granola bars. We want people to learn the symptoms of the disease and ways they can prevent it.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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