Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center gears up for annual walk

PLATTSBURGH In a few short weeks, people will be hitting the pavement to raise money for local programs and services and promote awareness for Alzheimers disease. The Alzheimers Disease Assistance Center will host its annual Alzheimers Walk Sunday, Oct. 26, at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh Field House on Rugar Street. Dr. Taher Zandi, the centers director, recently discussed Alzheimers during a kick-off for the walk at Meadowbrook Healthcare. He said the debilitating neurological disease affects 4 million Americans today and is growing at an exponential rate. Zandi likened the progress made in the research of the disease to searching through a collection of encyclopedias. In the beginning, there are many books to search through to find what youre looking for, he said, but once the search is narrowed down to one book, its only a matter of time before what youre searching for is found. We have discovered that the disease is in letter M, which is a great discovery, Zandi said metaphorically. Now, we can throw away all the other books and focus on M so the pathologists, biologists and genetic scientists are zeroing in on one book. Now, its a matter of finding what page, he said. Through advancements in technology and modern medicine, Zandi said he is confident a cure will one day be found. Its through the support of events like the annual Alzheimers Walk that these breakthroughs exist, he said. Event organizer Kenna LaPorte said last years walk raised enough money to operate 34 educational programs, serving 1,100 people in the tri-county area. Additionally, the funding helped offer six monthly Alzheimers support groups free of charge to participants. While they enjoy the Alzheimers Walk, both Zandi and LaPorte said they would like to stop walking. We hope that we take this walk a few steps farther every year, said Zandi, but, Id like to see it end, end when its announced that Alzheimers has been eradicated. I was giving a presentation on Alzheimers and a person raised their hand and said, If they cure Alzheimers, youll be out of a job, LaPorte recalled. I said, I look forward to the day. The Plattsburgh walk will begin with individual and team registration at noon, with the walk to start at 1 p.m. The event will include food, entertainment and prizes. A walk will also held at the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid the day before, Saturday, Oct. 25. Registration for that walk begins at noon, with the walk beginning at 12:30 p.m. For more information, call 564-3370, 564-3371, or visit www.alzwalk.org.

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