‘Walk to end Alzheimer’s set for Saturday in Opp

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It is estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease, but one local group is doing their part to reduce that number one mile at a time.

For the second year, Wes Laird of Opp, his friends, family and co-workers are organizing a local “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Last year’s inaugural event was organized to help Laird celebrate his 50th birthday. Instead of birthday gifts, Laird wanted to raise awareness of the disease that had greatly impacted his family. The walk was held last October and featured more than 30 people.

“The highlight for me (last year) was for my mother to walk,” he said. “She is now in her 10th year with Alzheimer’s, but she made the laps around the stadium with us, along with her best friend, (the late) Becky Cheshire.

“I had hoped my grandmother could walk also, but she had just spent a week in the hospital,” he said. “She is a resident of Florala Health and Rehab.”

Laird said the walk helped to raise more than $5,000 for research and support “to fight this disease that affects someone new every 68 seconds, and now, Peter Cowley with the Alzheimer’s Association, has provided us with much guidance, and, went to bat for us to have our own officially sponsored Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”

This year’s event will be held this Sat., Sept. 7, and will be the official walk for lower Alabama, which includes Covington and surrounding counties.

The Lower Alabama Walk will move from last year’s location of Channell Lee Stadium to Frank Jackson State Park in Opp, “where we will take advantage of the wonderful trails blazed by the Trailmasters,” Laird said.

The walk will begin at 10 a.m.

“We are encouraging businesses and organizations to have their very own teams, and sign up members to make this a huge annual success that will have lasting impact on the world of people who will be effected by this memory robbing culprit,” he said.

To register a team or get more information, visit act.alz.org, or call 334.493.9716.