Jean Lee of Litchfield Township said both her parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s on the same day in 2006.
So, she came to the Medina Community Recreation Center field house on a mission Saturday: to join an estimated 400 participants in a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“They experienced a dual decline for five years and died within one year of one another,” Lee said of her parents.
She said they received “excellent” care in Medina County from the Western Reserve Masonic Community and The Inn (now known as Brookdale South).
Hospice of Medina County provided care for Lee’s parents “at the very end.”
In 2014, Lee wrote a memoir about that time, “Alzheimer’s Daughter,” to encourage others who are experiencing similar life events. The memoir is available on amazon.com.
Lee and her family participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in her parents’ honor.
The 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s was organized by the Alzheimer’s Association. Officials estimated Saturday that “at least” $55,000 was raised, with donations still being accepted. The organization’s goal was $69,000.
Stephanie Mueller, community development coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association, said more than 50 teams united to raise money that will go toward ending Alzheimer’s. Teams were made up of families who lost someone or have a member battling the disease.
Other teams were made up from the business community. Health care organizations participated, too, Mueller said.
“They certainly understand our mission because their residents are affected,” she said.
Locally, 3,500 Medina County residents are affected by Alzheimer’s, Mueller said.
“We definitely want to be able to show our support to those caregivers who have loved ones affected by this disease,” she added.
The association offers support groups, a 24-hour helpline, care consultations and funding for research.
The teams left the field house at 9:45 a.m. and walked a 2-mile course through the nearby Forest Meadows Apartments development.
Saturday marked the second year Mueller has organized the walk, which has taken place at least 10 years.
The Alzheimer’s Association is online at alz.org.
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.