Battling Alzheimer's and Walking for the Cure

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

More than five million people are currently battling Alzheimer's Disease, and about every 71 seconds someone else will be diagnosed.

It's a staggering statistic, but the numbers are only expected to grow over the next 40 years, unless a cure is found.

One local family knows the effects of the disease all to well.

"Do you remember that I flew helicopters," Matt Brown asks his father Ron. "No," Ron Brown replies.

It's been a long road for Matt Brown and his family.

"It's hard to watch someone who was the decision maker of the house, so strong, always provided care of the family to gradually get to where normal affairs, he wasn't able to take care of," Matt Brown said.

For nearly the last 15 years, Matt has had to sit back and watch his father, Ron, slip away.

"When you forget, you don't remember that you forgot, and so the hard part of that is the person that's affected has a hard time accepting or recognizing they have the disease," Matt Brown said.

Ron Brown was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's about six years ago, but the family recognized symptoms long before that. It's something they had been through before.

In 1983, Ron's mother passed away from the disease, and years later so would his brother.

"Do you remember who that is," Matt Browns asks pointing to a picture. "He looks an awful lot like you, but that's Uncle Charles."

The Brown's now use pictures to jog Ron's memory of days of the past. Days when he proudly served his country in the Air Force.

"Was that the F-86, or 84," Matt asks his father. "The 84," Ron replies.

"Eventually the stories he used to tell, all the flying emergencies, and missions....that's gone," Matt Brown said. "He doesn't tell those stories anymore."

But his loved ones keep telling him stories anyways.

Even if he doesn't remember the stories themselves, they hope he'll remember the people as long as possible.

"You can tell still when we walk in there's recognition of somebody," Matt Brown said.

Ron Brown will be honored this weekend at the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk. It's an event geared to help raise awareness, and funds for research of the disease. Like so many other families the Brown's are fighting for a cure.

If you want to help:

Alzheimer's Memory Walk
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater
College Station
Walk Begins: 9:30 a.m.

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