FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Volunteers across the state have joined the fight against Alzheimer's disease to raise awareness of the disease and to provide help for care givers.

The Alzheimer's Association will host the "Walk to End Alzheimer's" at Finlay Park, Oct. 20 to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease.

"We are hoping for 600 walkers this year," said Ashton Houghton, vice president of development and communications for the Alzheimer's Association, South Carolina Chapter. "The walk is a great opportunity for the community. There are 80,000 people living with Alzheimer's here in South Carolina."

Many of those affected by the disease are veterans. The Dorn VA Hospital and Governor's Office of Veterans' Affairs reported that more than 1,100 South Carolina veterans have been diagnosed in 2011 with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias.

A study by the DoD and the National Institute on Aging reported that there is a relationship between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias in veterans 65 and older.

The study reflected that the veterans with PTSD were 77 percent more likely to develop dementia than those without it when risk factors related to Alzheimer's disease were included.

More than half of all Americans know someone with Alzheimer's disease. According to the Alzheimer's Association, every 68 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer's.

Debbie Griffin, a volunteer, said she joined the organization because her mother suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer's.

"I didn't recognize the signs in my mother until I watched a tape that explained what to look for," Griffin said. "My mother told me she was trying to set the clock and by the time she got across the room she had forgotten what time it was."

Alzheimer's is the nation's sixth leading cause of death. Many volunteers of the Alzheimer's Association Midlands Chapter have joined the organization in hopes to make a difference for others.

"This is a disease that will affect everyone. We are just trying to make this a part of our community, and we also are wanted to make the Fort Jackson community aware as well." Griffin said.

For more information, visit: www.alz.org/walk or call 1-800-272-3900.

Page last updated Thu October 4th, 2012 at 00:00