Community rallies to support families of Alzheimer's patients (Video)

Elena Watts By Elena Watts

Aug. 24, 2013 at 3:24 a.m.
Updated Aug. 25, 2013 at 3:25 a.m.

The Martin family was the only sponsor that was not a business at the Alz About Purple event at Victoria Mall on Saturday.

The other 24 tables outside Dillard's belonged to hospices, home health care providers, hospitals, nursing and rehabilitation centers and insurance providers.

"We need more families involved," said Joyce Martin, whose mother, Dorothy Martin, had Alzheimer's disease for at least seven years before she died in 2011.

The first Alz About Purple event was one of many community fundraisers to benefit the Walk to End Alzheimer's scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 7 in DeLeon Plaza.

The walk increases awareness about the disease and raises money for Alzheimer's research, said Mindy Brown, chairwoman of the Victoria walk's planning committee.

Last year, the Victoria walk raised more than $50,000, and the goal this year is $60,000.

Dorothy's Pride, the Martins' walking team, is composed of more than 20 family members and friends. Each year, they raise between $2,500 and $4,000 for the cause.

Kay Martin Sanchez, another of Dorothy Martin's daughters who lives in Galveston, supports Alzheimer's research because she wants to be there for her daughters.

"Mom was a great woman, and when her mind went, it devastated us," Sanchez said. "I try to emulate her - she was our rock."

Alzheimer's is hard on families, Brown said, and support and awareness efforts are really for them.

"Families do not know how to deal with the disease," Brown said. "They still have their loved one, but they're a shell."

Hospice of South Texas sold T-shirts as well as fidget blankets and prayer shawls made by volunteers for $15. Senior Helpers sold sets of gift cards for $20. The illustrations were created by students who are in first through eighth grades at Trinity Episcopal School.

Zumba shows, live musical performances, a disc jockey, face painting, pedicures with purple polish, a dress-up photo station, a back-to-school fashion show, raffles and gifts were among the event's fundraising efforts.

Alz About Purple's coordinators encouraged mall stores to use as much purple as possible in their window displays for the chance to win a pizza party. Windows, especially around the event, featured purple balloons and streamers.

Brianna Alcazar, 16, of Galveston, painted faces and hands for $1 in memory of her great-grandmother, Dorothy Martin.

"I hope to see a cure for Alzheimer's in my lifetime," Brianna said.



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