Hundreds take steps to end Alzheimer’s

Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant (center), Mississippi Chapter Alzheimer’s Association Executive Director Patty Dunn (left) and Board President Marshall Belaga, M.D. participate in the ribbon-cutting to start the walk

First Lady Bryant cuts ribbon to kick off Central Mississippi’s walk

The Mississippi Link Newswire

Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant (center), Mississippi Chapter Alzheimer’s Association Executive Director Patty Dunn (left) and Board President Marshall Belaga, M.D. participate in the ribbon-cutting to start the walk

Central Mississippians took steps in the right direction as hundreds gathered in downtown Jackson Saturday, September 13, to participate in the Central Mississippi Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The three-mile walk through downtown began at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

Mississippi Chapter Alzheimer’s Association Program Coordinator Sara Murphy and daughter (R) pose with Chapter board member Gail M. Brown.
Mississippi Chapter Alzheimer’s Association Program Coordinator Sara Murphy and daughter (R) pose with Chapter board member Gail M. Brown.

A champion with a heart for service, Mississippi’s first lady Deborah Bryant was this year’s honorary walk chair. During her speech, Bryant said, “Today, we are walking for the 51,000 Mississippians who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and the thousands of caregivers.

“We also walk in memory of our loved ones. We walk with advocates who are lending their voice to bring awareness to the critical issues surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. We are here for those who may no longer have a voice in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. And we walk for the goal of effectively treating and preventing Alzheimer’s disease by supporting smart investments in research.”

The first lady also helped to cut the ribbon to start the walk, which is newly named the Central Mississippi Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It was formerly called the Jackson Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It is one of more than 600 walks that take place nationwide to help raise funds for needed research.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.”

People like the Sanders family know this factor so well, as relatives pour in from several states each year to honor the legacy and memory of their mother Bessie M. Sanders. “Oh, we are not going anywhere; we are going to stay in this fight until a cure is found,” said family team leader Patricia Sanders Ford.

Former Mississippi Link Editor Gail M. Brown is also a regular. She supported two teams – her church, Holy Temple Missionary Baptist of West Jackson, and her employer, the Community Students Learning Center of Lexington.

Brown’s father and several of his siblings succumbed to the disease, the last of them as recent as June of this year.

A board member of the Mississippi Chapter Alzheimer’s Association, Brown applauds the dedicated work Executive Director Patty Dunn, her staff, the walk committee and fellow board members put into raising awareness about Alzheimer’s in the state.

“I am simply humbled to play a small part in those efforts,” she said. Brown also expressed that the walk had some outstanding sponsors who contributed greatly to the success of the event.

Crowd warming up for the walk
Crowd warming up for the walk
Sanders family members from several states walk to honor the memory of mother Bessie M. Sanders
Sanders family members from several states walk to honor the memory of mother Bessie M. Sanders

p2 Community Students IMG_0406

p2 Executive Director Patty and committee display proclamation

p2 Pastor and Sis. Shalanda