October walk to end alzheimer’s set in Opp

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 6, 2012

A little more than eight years ago, Wesley and Deidra Laird were struggling with how to get an independent woman to go to the doctor to have her memory checked. Wesley Laird’s dad, Nolan Laird, had told them his mother, Anelia, only 60 years old at the time, was getting confused about some things.

“She became agitated when we tried to talk to her about getting a check-up, saying the only thing wrong with her was stress and people won’t leave her alone,” Laird recalled. “I said, ‘Well Mom, if you will just get a check-up and the doctor says it is stress, then we will all leave you alone.’ ”

She made an appointment, only to find that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

“It was a difficult time for us,” Laird said. “Her mother, my grandmother, also lived with mom and dad, and it was very stressful on my grandmother. She could not understand how this awful disease had skipped her, when her mother had died from Alzheimer’s in the early 80s. But about five years later, she was diagnosed as well.”

“I will be 50 on Oct. 12,” Laird said. “I am the fourth generation. My mother is 18 years older than me. You can imagine what is on my mind. So I thought, how can we turn this into something positive?”

Laird talked to his law partners, David Baker and Andy Blackstock, and both were fully supportive of the firm helping start the first local Walk for Alzhe-imers. Up until this year, the nearest Walk to End Alzheimers has been at the Gulf Coast. Families across Lower Alabama in both Covington and Coffee Counties, and surrounding areas are affected by Alzheimers, and Laird believes the people here can make a difference in ending the cycle.

Alzheimers now ranks number six in cause of death in the United States.

The Alzheimers Association provides support services to those who are affected.

A significant portion of the money it raises is invested in research designed to find a cure as well.

Laird, Baker, and Blackstock will sponsor the walk on Sat., Oct. 13, at 8 a.m. at Channell-Lee Stadium in Opp. The Lower Alabama team is up and walking, and all are invited to join.

Those who raise $100 or more will receive a T-shirt with the Walk to End Alzheimers logo. A

ll proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, participants will be provided with “For-get Me Nots” to display in memory or in honor of someone.

Laird believes that this can become a major fundraising event in our area.

This year, the Alzheimers Association is providing support for the event, but could not do a fully sponsored event due to the lateness in the year.

But working with the Alzheimers Association, they were able to coordinate a supported event for the common goal of ending Alzheimers.

“We have set an ambitious goal of raising $10,000 this first year. That’s only 100 people at $100 each,” said Laird. Laird is hopeful that by getting this off the ground now, Lower Alabama will have a fully supported “Walk to End Alzheimers” next year.

To join the team, call Laird, Baker & Blackstock at 493-9716 or email Laird at bamalaw1@yahoo.com.