Alzheimer’s walk set for Sept. 26

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wes Laird is shown with his mom at a previous Alzheimer’s walk.  Courtesy photo

Wes Laird is shown with his mom at a previous Alzheimer’s walk.
Courtesy photo

What a difference three years can make! Due to increased research funding made possible through the Alzheimer’s Association and their lobbying efforts in Congress, which has led to increased research funding, major breakthroughs are being made every week in treatments that would provide hope to those suffering from this terrible disease.

The Fourth Annual Lower Alabama Walk to End Alzheimer’s is set for Sat., Sept. 26, at Frank Jackson State Park in Opp. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the ceremony at 9 and the two-mile walk at 9:30 a.m. The walk is along beautiful nature trails that have been blazed by the Opp Trailmasters working in conjunction with the Alabama State Parks. But for millions of people suffering with Alzheimer’s, a cure will not be soon enough.

“I look back on the changes that have taken place for us personally in the last three years since we started the Lower Alabama Walk,” said Opp attorney Wesley Laird, “and the changes in my mom and grandmother are profound. My mom is forgetting how to stand and does not seem to know us most of the time. My grandmother has become completely dependent on a lift to get her out of bed, and since suffering a setback last month, seems to be in another world.”

“But we are extremely grateful to the caregivers. We cannot say enough about the kind-hearted people who take care of those suffering from dementia,” Laird added. “For us, the folks at Florala Health and Rehab with my grandmother, and the three sitters at home with my mom, Shirley Robinson, Jean Norris, and Vera Pope, are golden.”

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a challenge for family members, and a task that requires everyone to work together. “In many ways, it is more difficult on the family members,” added Laird’s wife, Deidra. Deidra has been instrumental in securing sponsorships to grow the Lower Alabama Walk.

“We are thankful to the many sponsors who have signed on to help. They include PowerSouth, Southern Independent Bank, Andalusia Regional Hospital, Outlaw Realty, JM Jackson, Laird, Baker & Blackstock, The Woodmoore, Taylor Mill Oaks, Andalusia Pilot Club and may others,” according to Deidra. In addition to the sponsors, the individual teams and walkers help raise money to make this a success.

The Lairds’ church family at Covenant Community Church in Elba started a team, Grandma’s Walkers, when the Lower Alabama Walk first started. They have been the top fundraising team consistently. Their efforts include not only sporting a large team of members, but also a benefit concert at Jus’ Folks Coffeehouse in Elba on Thursday, September 24th at 7:00. In addition, Jus’ Folks, which is an outreach of Covenant, will be donating all proceeds from dessert sales between now and the Walk.

“One of the best things about participating in the Walk is knowing you are not alone in your everyday walk in dealing with and caring for those with Alzheimer’s,” said Laird. To form a team of your own or sign up to walk on a team, go to or contact Deidra Laird at 334-488-4824.