OCEANSIDE — Close to 500 participated in the first Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk at the Oceanside Pier to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research on Nov. 6.
“The focus of the walk is to remember those loved ones affected and support caregivers and patients,” Francine Phillips, Alzheimer’s Association director of communications for San Diego and Imperial Counties, said.
The walk raised more than $52,000 for research efforts. Alzheimer’s disease affects 53,000 people in San Diego and is the third leading cause of death in the county, Phillips said. Every person with the disease requires two caregivers, which multiplies its impact.
“Every 70 seconds someone (nationwide) is developing Alzheimer’s disease,” Phillips said. “It’s getting huge.”
Despite ongoing clinical trials, there is no known cause or cure.
Walk participants were motivated to raise funds to help find a cure. Some walked in teams in support of loved ones and others joined to help. “My mom and grandma don’t have it, but one day they might,” said Marissa Reid, an event volunteer.
“The stress is very hard,” Phillips said. “Every cause is different. It’s hard to have a family plan because every progression of the disease is different.”
Early detection methods are improving that can find the disease before a patient shows its symptoms. This helps patients and their families get early support.
The Alzheimer’s Association’s 24-hour hot line is (800) 272-3900.