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Striders take steps to help end Alzheimer’s

Oak Crest raises almost $8K for memory walk

Created date

November 20th, 2012

When it comes to raising money for a good cause, Harold Forst is a pro. The former Havre de Grace resident and retired Harford County health advocacy coordinator has helped raise millions of dollars for Alzheimer s. So when a team of neighbors and staff from Oak Crest, the Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., where he now lives, decided to participate in the Alzheimer s Association Walk, naturally he was ready to help. I m a ham and an outgoing fellow, so accosting people for donations comes naturally to me, jokes Harold, who collected money for the Alzheimer s Association outside Oak Crest s three on-site restaurants to help reach their goal of $6,500.

Take a walk

The Alzheimer s Walk, the nation s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer s care, support, and research, is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide. The event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to reclaim the future for millions. Regionally, a walk was held in October in Bel Air, Md. More than 300 people from across the area turned out for the event, which commenced at the Bel Air Equestrian Center and led participants on a 2.5 mile walk along the MA and PA Heritage Trail to Annie s Playground and back. Participants enjoyed light refreshments, live music, and entertainment, including face painting for the littlest walkers. This was Oak Crest resident Michelle Baylor-Caldwell s second year walking in the Bel Air event. The retired military intelligence analyst has felt the devastating effects of Alzheimer s firsthand. My dad had dementia, and the heartbreak for our family as we watched him decline and succumb to the disease was immeasurable, says Michelle. Around the same time my father was ill, my best friend s dad had Alzheimer s. So I decided to walk for both our dads. Oak Crest Associate Executive Director Mark Roussey, a runner, lives in Bel Air and is familiar with the trail. He says he was proud to be a part of the team. One of the things that makes Oak Crest such a unique place to work is we get to meet and bond with the people we serve every day. This was a great opportunity to engage and connect with our residents and fellow employees while helping a worthwhile cause, says Roussey. Oak Crest Wellness Manager Temica Mickey Carter organized the team of two dozen walkers, named the Oak Crest Striders. It s a well-run event for a great cause, says Carter. Even after we exceeded our goal, donations from residents continued to pour in. To me that just shows how passionate the people at Oak Crest are to helping end this terrible disease. Altogether, the Oak Crest Striders raised nearly $8,000 the highest of any participants in the Bel Air walk.

Step in the right direction

Michelle says she is thankful she is able to contribute and walk for research and treatment to help future patients and families. The disease is unpredictable and to date incurable, she says. Therefore, more money and research is needed to learn about the disease itself and how it can be managed and eventually cured. My family and I were supported and encouraged during our difficult times. I feel blessed that I can give back and encourage other patients, families, and friends during their difficult times. According to the Alzheimer s Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF), every 70 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer s disease. The current estimate of 5.4 million Americans affected by Alzheimer s is expected to surge to nearly 16 million by 2050. But ARPF says by slowing the progression of Alzheimer s disease by just five years, the number of cases can be reduced by up to 50%, and if the onset of Alzheimer s can be delayed by ten years, scientists say that the disease would essentially be eradicated. To learn more about how you can help end Alzheimer s, visit www.alzfdn.org.

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