Addressing Alzheimer’s with Bonnie Farmer Hay and Renee Mathews Calloway
Last Friday, I had the unique opportunity to chat with Bonnie Farmer Hay and Renee Mathews Calloway of the Alzheimer’s Association. Both visited the Monroe studios of Stephens Media Group for an interview on Sunny 98.3 with John Runyan. Post-interview, they graciously allocated time to discuss the important work they undertake with the Alzheimer’s Association. My personal connection to Alzheimer’s, through my father’s experience, amplified the significance of this conversation.
Background and Personal Drive
Renee and Bonnie’s association with the cause isn’t merely professional. Both have personal stories that have driven them towards the mission of Alzheimer’s awareness and research. Their dedication is rooted deeply in their personal journeys, making their commitment palpable.
Bonnie detailed her experience of watching family members navigate the challenges of Alzheimer’s. It’s this personal experience that has spurred her to actively participate in numerous advocacy efforts. She has consistently made trips to Washington DC and Baton Rouge, engaging with policymakers and pushing for reforms that directly benefit Alzheimer’s patients. One of her notable efforts is promoting awareness and acceptance of Lecanemab, a drug recently approved for treating Alzheimer’s.
A Glimpse into Alzheimer’s Statistics
To truly understand the urgency and importance of their work, one needs to look at the statistics related to Alzheimer’s:
• Over 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s.
• The projections for 2050 indicate this number could potentially double, reaching an estimated 13 million.
• Alzheimer’s ranks as the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
• Approximately 91,000 senior citizens are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
• From 2000 to 2018, Louisiana observed a 145% increase in deaths caused by Alzheimer’s.
• By 2025, there’s an anticipated increase of 18.7% in Alzheimer’s diagnoses among the elderly.
These numbers serve as a stark reminder of the challenges ahead. It underscores the importance of initiatives and organizations, like the Alzheimer’s Association, that aim to combat this growing health crisis.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s: An Overview
One of the key initiatives that Renee highlighted is the upcoming ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’. As the Louisiana Director of the Alzheimer’s Walk, she possesses detailed insights into this event. It’s organized in more than 600 communities worldwide and stands as a unified stance against Alzheimer’s, aiming to raise funds for patient care and critical research.
This year, the walk in Louisiana is scheduled at the scenic Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo located at 1405 Bernstein Park Road. The day’s proceedings will begin with registrations at 8:15 am, followed by the walk’s commencement at 9 am.
Why Support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s?
So, what makes the Walk to End Alzheimer’s stand out and why should the community of Northeast Louisiana be involved?
First and foremost, the Walk serves as more than a fundraising event. It acts as a platform for individuals to come together, remember those lost to Alzheimer’s, support those currently facing the disease, and raise hope for a future without Alzheimer’s.
The funds raised play an instrumental role. They enable the Alzheimer’s Association to continue its dual mission: to provide quality care and support for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s and to accelerate research aimed at finding a cure. The event also offers a unique support system for families and caregivers. It’s an opportunity for them to share their stories, learn from others’ experiences, and draw strength from the collective.
More than anything, the walk signifies hope. By coming together, by pooling resources, and by raising awareness, the community can hope for advancements in research that might one day lead to a cure.
As our discussion concluded that afternoon, it was clear that both Bonnie and Renee are driven by more than just duty or responsibility. Their endeavors are fueled by personal experiences and a genuine desire to make a difference.
And the ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’ is not just an event. It represents the collective aspirations of countless individuals who envision a world free from the grips of Alzheimer’s. By shedding light on the scale of the problem, by rallying resources, and by offering support to those in need, we inch closer to that goal.
I urge the community of Northeast Louisiana to participate on October 14th. By uniting for this cause, we can contribute to research, support affected families, and most importantly, work toward a future where Alzheimer’s is a thing of the past.
Click here for more info on the event: https://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2023/LA-Louisiana?fr_id=16591&pg=entry