Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 26, 2013

Ashland chapter helps make million mark

Staff report
The Independent

ASHLAND — Local supporters helped the Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association exceed their goal of raising $1 million, with the Ashland area contributors adding $36,000 to the organization’s botyom line.

“As of today, and with seven days still to go before the 2013 Walk season fundraising books are closed, the area chapter has hit the $1 million fundraising mark for the first time in its history,” according to a statement released by the Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“More than 8,600 people across the Commonwealth and Southern Indiana helped us blow away records from previous years’ Walks, raising 19 percent more money, gathering 21 percent more teams and bringing out 41 percent more individual participants than in 2012,” said Teri Shirk, president and CEO of the chapter. “We reached or exceeded our goals in nearly all of our markets, and we set very aggressive — but also very reachable — targets. This final week of Walk season, we’re encouraging teams and individuals across the entire chapter’s service area to consider commemorative holiday donation gifts so we can continue to meet the growing need for the services and programs we provide.”

 The Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter held 12 Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in September and October 2013. Funds raised through these Walks make up about 45 percent of the chapter’s annual $2.2 million budget, which is used to support programs for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s, a 24-hour hotline (800) 272-3900), professional training, and research toward prevention, treatments and a cure.

 Growth in the area chapter’s walk participation and fundraising efforts reflects greater awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Alzheimer’s Association statistics that show dramatic growth in the number of people who will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s unless a cure is found, said Shirk.

“With greater awareness often come earlier diagnosis and reduced stigma associated with the disease,” she said. “More people recognize the potential symptoms and seek out medical advice, and doctors are increasingly less reluctant to diagnose Alzheimer’s than in the past. We still don’t have a cure, or even a treatment that slows progression of the disease through the brain, but earlier diagnosis means that the drugs we do have for treating symptoms are more effective. Moreover, increasing fundraising success will eventually lead to that breakthrough we need, so there is hope today.”

Shirk also said that increased awareness of Alzheimer’s disease has changed the makeup of the people who participate in the area chapter’s support group meetings, training seminars and healthcare and financial planning sessions. “As recently as a few years ago, it was rare to see people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s taking advantage of the programming we offer. This year, we worked with caregivers and family members as we always have, but we also welcomed more than a hundred persons who actually have the disease at local programming sessions, and many of those individuals attended regularly.”

For a complete list of programs in this area, or for other information about Alzheimer’s disease, visit alz.org/kyin/.  To donate to one of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s events with the Chapter’s region, visit alz.org/walk, and click on the appropriate state.