By Bob Jackson
Saturday was a tad bittersweet for Tony Sugar.
It was his 65th birthday, and he smiled as he supposed hugs and birthday wishes from friends and family members. But his countenance altered when he started articulate about a fear of Alzheimer’s disease, that claimed his mother’s life 3 years ago.
“Horrible disease,” he pronounced somberly. “Horrible.”
Sugar, a Vietnam War maestro from Boardman, was among some 800 people during Youngstown State University’s Watson and Tressel Training Site on Saturday morning to attend in a annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, sponsored by a Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Chapter.
The travel is a internal chapter’s largest fund-raising eventuality any year, with a idea this year of $71,000, pronounced Helen Paes, village growth director. She pronounced a income stays in a village to assistance account programs for Alzheimer’s patients, and for their families who are caregivers.
“It also helps lift open recognition about Alzheimer’s, so a travel has a twin purpose,” Paes said.
More than 5 million people in a United States have Alzheimer’s, with another 15 million people portion as caregivers. It’s a usually vital illness in a nation that has no approach of being slowed, treated or cured, pronounced Lori McCleese of a Alzheimer’s Association.
Sugar pronounced his mother, Lucy Velchek, was 80 when family members started saying her memory lapses. They figured it was only compared with her advancing age, though a problems gradually worsened.
“There was a prolonged salvation there,” Sugar said. “Her mom was 104 and her sisters were in their 90s. We figured [the memory lapses] were only partial of her removing older. We never approaching that it was Alzheimer’s. She even forgot how to swallow.”
Lucy, a mom of five, was 83 when she died, Sugar said, observant that a hardest partial of examination his mom go by a illness was when she was no longer means to remember anyone, including her family.
“She was always such a happy person,” he said. “She was always articulate to everybody, always smiling and laughing. But afterwards she mislaid that.”
Sugar and others on his travel group wore T-shirts with Lucy’s design on a front, over a heart, and a vast heart on a behind with a words, “We Love Lucy” inside, mimicking a trademark of a renouned 1960s radio show, “I Love Lucy.”
Vickie Fowler of Rogers also participated in a travel Saturday, fasten “Team Jean” in respect of her sister’s mother-in-law. But her possess grandmother, Melva Catherine Davis, also died of Alzheimer’s.
Like Sugar, she pronounced a misfortune partial of examination a course of a illness was saying her grandmother gradually remove her memory.
“It’s tough when they stop meaningful you. That’s a hardest thing,” pronounced Fowler, 57. “Here’s someone you’ve famous and hung out with all your life, and afterwards all of a remarkable you’re a stranger. You try all to get them to know you, though a light tuber only doesn’t come on.”
Before a illness struck, Davis was an active member of a village who taught swimming during a Youngstown YMCA for years, Fowler said.
Briarfield Health Care Centers, owned by Ed and Diane Reese, was a presenting unite of a internal event. Ed Reese pronounced patients with memory and insanity issues are a vast partial of a race served by Briarfield.
“This is a good approach to uncover a support for those with a disease, and hopefully work toward a finish of it,” Reese said.
Paes pronounced anyone who was incompetent to attend a walk, though would still like to minister toward a cause, can still do so by contacting a internal Alzheimer’s Association office.