Group fights Alzheimer's with a fun run, lunch
July 28, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.
Updated July 29, 2012 at 2:29 a.m.
Bikers, a high school class reunion, children, nurses and bartenders are just some of those who gathered Saturday with a common goal -- ending Alzheimer's.
Joyce Martin, a nurse in Victoria, was one of many people at the Crusin' for a Cure fundraiser whose life was changed for the worse because of the disease.
Her mother died from Alzheimer's in March 2011, after a 10-year, futile battle.
Now, she participates in Victoria's annual Walk To End Alzheimer's, which raises money for research.
"It robs you of your mind," Martin said. "She (mom) eventually forgot how to do everything, even brush her teeth. It was very challenging, very frustrating, because they just don't understand. They are in their own little world."
Cruisin' for a Cure, put together by Pat DeDear, raised money for the annual walk by selling raffle tickets, box lunches, pickles, popcorn and a 150-mile motorcycle fun run.
Alfredo Rosas, of Victoria, rode with his 10-year-old grandson on the ride.
"I rode because of the Alzheimer's thing," he said. "My dad has Alzheimer's and I did it for him. Plus, I like to ride."
DeDear got involved with the walk when it started in Victoria six years ago. She has had family members affected by Alzheimer's and worked with dementia patients for many years.
"It is tough on the family, the caregivers," she said. "Alzheimer's patients get to the point where they don't know what day it is, or what is going on it."
Even the Raider Belles, the dance team from Stroman High School Class of 1987, spent part of their 25-year reunion at Mustang Bar for the event.
Becky Holmes Auen, now living in Nashville, bought a hamburger lunch for the cause. She organized the get-together on a Facebook page.
"We can not only get together and have lunch, socialize and catch up on all the years, with people we haven't seen in 25 years, but we can also support a great cause," Auen said.
Mindy Brown, chair for the Walk to End Alzheimer's, and a Raider Belle, said they raised $50,000 last year, but hope to raise more than $70,000 this year.
Fundraisers throughout the year, like Cruisin' for a Cure, contribute to that total. DeDear said she hopes to raise $5,000 from her event.
Martin said a cure can't come soon enough.
"When I first moved in to take care of her (mom), I would give her a basket of clothes and she could fold the towels," Martin said, struggling not to cry. "Eventually she would sit there looking at the towels and think, 'What should I do with this?'"
Eventually, Martin said, the disease progressed so much her mother couldn't speak.
"At night, I'd tuck her in and tell her I love her," Martin said. "And she would struggle to say the words back, but couldn't. That hurt."
She hopes Saturday's fundraiser and other events will raise local awareness of the disease.
"I certainly wish there was a lot more awareness and more people involved with this walk," Martin said. "You get passionate about it when it is affects your family, but those people that haven't been affected, they should be passionate too, so that it doesn't affect their family," Martin said. "I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. It is just awful."