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Why she walks to #EndAlz in North Dakota

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and North Dakota has the fourth highest mortality rate.

Many people support the Alzheimer’s Association as they research, network, and walk to end the disease.

Right now is an exciting time because the FDA recently fully approved a new treatment to slow the early stages of Alzheimer’s called Leqembi.

Health officials say this is a big step for treatment advancements but, for some, it’s too late.

Long-time volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association, Joan Danks, says it was for her own grandmother.

“My grandmother Elsie was diagnosed with dementia quite a long time ago and it really affected our ability to care for her and be with her. And the disease ultimately progressed so much that she was catatonic and we really couldn’t communicate with her anymore, and she didn’t really recognize us,” said Danks. 

Danks shares that when grandma Elsie’s memory began to decline, they lived out of state.

“At the time It was really challenging for me because being so far away and when I would come home to see her, I would see the drastic changes that dementia and Alzheimer’s bring. But at the core, she’s who she is, she’s my grandmother. So just remembering those times throughout my childhood and life that she helped me, really helped to ground me and give that back to her,” said Danks. 

She shares that the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s.

Danks says it’s special because it reminds her and many others that no one is alone in this fight.

“So it’s really near and dear to my heart because I know what it’s like as a family member to lose somebody to dementia and Alzheimer’s,” she added. 

And, that’s because Danks works at Baptist Health and Rehab with over 100 patients.

She shares that some of them too have dementia.

“My drive and passion is to help people in need,” Danks told KX. 

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will kick off on Saturday, September 9 at the Missouri Valley Family YMCA in Bismarck, beginning with an opening ceremony, and followed by the walk.

Source: KX Net