PHOTO left to right: Volunteer, Charlene Taggart & Event Coordinator, Ericka Saucier, LSW-C
Fort Kent ~ More than 27,000 people in Maine are living with Alzheimer’s and they are supported by 69,000 caregivers. In the United States more than five million people are living with Alzheimer’s and over fifteen million individuals are serving as their unpaid caregivers. On September 16, the three mile Northern Maine Walk to End Alzheimer’s was held in Fort Kent. One hundred twelve walkers registered with thirteen teams coming together to: support one another, learn more about the disease, and obtain information on the availability of a local support group which is offered monthly at Forest Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Dementia is not normal aging; it is a progressive and fatal disease. Every sixty seven seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death in the top ten in America without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. It is reported that one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Ericka Saucier, LSW-C, Forest Hill Social Worker and event coordinator, provided opening remarks prior to the start of the event. With emotions high at the gathering, Saucier said, “Alzheimer’s is relentless- but so are we. I am standing here today because I truly believe that the end of Alzheimer’s starts with me. And I can tell by looking out into this sea of purple, I am not in this alone.” Several individuals also spoke about their experiences at the opening ceremony either as a caregiver or as someone who has lost a loved one to the devastating disease. Mark Pichanic, from the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, was also on hand for the event and spoke about the work being done to learn more about the disease so that a cure can be found. Participants honored those affected by Alzheimer’s disease in each of the three categories in the Promise Garden ceremony, each planting a pinwheel flower in a designated area of the venue.
The event raised nearly $24,000 with Team Rollande coming in first place for the fifth consecutive year with the highest amount raised. Saucier said, “I was so happy to see this amazing community come together for such an amazing cause. I am honored to be the host for this event and cannot wait to see what the future holds for participants and money raised for such an amazing purpose.” The date for the 2018 Walk is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 22.
To learn more about the monthly support group and other Alzheimer’s resources, call Ericka Saucier at 207-834-1834 or visit www.alz.org. To learn more about NMMC’s many services, to make a donation or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.nmmc.org and Like us on Facebook!