Taking their cause to the streets

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By Kirsten Laskey

The rate of Americans becoming diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease is reaching epidemic proportions.

Agnes Vallejos, executive director of New Mexico’s chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said there are 5.2 million Americans with the disease. New Mexico is not immune to the disease; more than 38,000 citizens in the state have been diagnosed, in fact the disease is found right in town. Pauline Schneider, executive director of Los Alamos Retired Senior Organization, said 500 people in Los Alamos have been diagnosed with the disease.

It is not just the patient who suffers from this form of dementia, Alzheimer’s affects everybody, Vallejos said.

The statistics appear alarming, but it seems they have not startled the federal government enough to take a lot of action.

Vellejos said the U.S. government’s funding for the Alzheimer’s Association has remained flat for the past three years.

Perhaps because of this lukewarm response from the national government, communities throughout New Mexico, including Los Alamos, are taking matters into their own hands.

They are raising money and awareness to combat Alzheimer’s through the Memory Walk and the local walk will occur Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Registration begins at 7:58 a.m. and walkers will begin their trek at 9:28 a.m.

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