RADFORD, Va (WFXR) — According to the Alzheimer’s Association, cases are on the rise throughout the nation. The annual “Walk To End Alzheimer’s” event in Radford raised over $50,000 towards Alzheimer’s research, but the Alzheimer’s Association says the fight is not over.
Virginia Tech Sigma Kappa Sorority chapter participated in the walk. Their organization has raised around $35,000 for Alzheimer’s awareness. Vice President of Philanthropic Services, Laura Wegner says the cause is close to many members’ hearts.
“One in three seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or other related dementias, so it’s very important to get involved especially early on to try to find a cure for it,” said Wegner.
Alzheimer’s does not only affect the patient. Officials say loved ones often take on the role of caregiver. The Alzheimer’s Association says in 2021, the total amount of unpaid hours from a caregiver was $524,000,000 throughout the Commonwealth.
“Support not just those who have Alzheimer’s, but the family who is supporting them as well,” Wegner said.
With the rate of diagnoses increasing, the need for resources increases as well. Reagan Newhouse from the Engagement Center for Creative Aging says some areas of the New River Valley struggle with accessibility.
“Here is a lot more rural, and there just isn’t as much access to treatment and advanced treatment,” said Newhouse.
The Alzheimer’s Association projects a 26.6 percent change in Alzheimer’s-related healthcare costs between 2020 and 2025, making fundraising and awareness events like “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s” imperative.
Radford City Mayor David Horton was at the event to show his support.
“Coming together like this provides a support network, it provides action, it provides resources, it can help us move forward as we try to eradicate the disease, as we try to provide treatment, and other opportunities to help people feel better,” said Mayor Horton.
For the community, it’s an opportunity to honor those who have battled the disease. Nadene Jarel lost her mother to Alzheimer’s. She and her family came out to show their support.
“I just feel honored to be able to do this for my mom,” said Jarel.