8th Annual Memory Walk

By Kate Gaier
1:30pm October 21, 2006

Cheers and applause go out to those taking part in the 8th Annual Memory Walk in Thomasville.

Betty Neill knows firsthand what Alzheimer's can do to a person. The annual walk is held in honor of her late husband, Dr. Jim Neill.

"He was a very bright internist who had Alzheimer's and it was such a waste for a very insightful smart physician to die of such a cruel disease," Neill said of her husband.

Hundreds have gathered over the years, raising more then $65,000 to go towards Alzheimer's research.

Gail Lancaster with Plantation Manor said, "One out of every two people who live to be 85 years old will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's or some other type of dementia unless a cure is found, and the Alzheimer's Association indicates that we are possibly eight years away from a cure."

Because the disease impacts so many people, Gerontology students at Southwest Georgia Technical College are asked to take part in the memory walk.

"They have a whole ten week quarter that we spend studying Alzheimer's and how it affects the families and those individuals. It also helps them feel like they've added a part to finding a cure to that disease one day," said Tammy Bryant, an instructor for the course.

With the help of the walkers, the world is one step closer to finding a cure for the devastating disease. Some of the money raised will stay to help local families dealing with Alzheimer's disease, helping to pay for safe return bracelets and specialized care.