On Monday, September 21, show your support for World Alzheimer's Day by wearing purple. I am an advocate for those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease because their voice may be silent, but mine will not. I cannot sit back and not speak about this issue which currently affects approximately 5.3 million Americans one of which I know and love dearly.

During the coverage of the recent healthcare debate, consider the following facts. Alzheimer's disease carries a price tag of $148 billion in health care costs. They are approximately 9.9 million unpaid caregivers. Every 70 seconds someone develops Alzheimer's. Consider, too, that as baby boomers age there will be an explosion of Americans diagnosed with the disease. We often think of Alzheimer's as a disease of the elderly, but there are 40 - 50 year olds diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. We must act now.

The facts can be terrifying, but then you can comfort yourself by thinking "it's not me; it's not in my family." I never imagined being impacted by this insidious disease, but I was wrong. My mother was diagnosed in 2006. And her entire family will never be the same. We are stronger and more united than ever to help bring an end to Alzheimer's.

On September 26, we will participate in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk at Heritage Hill in Weatherly. Team Sentimental Journey is walking with a mission: to improve care for those afflicted today, to expand awareness and to one day have a world without Alzheimer's. We have no survivors. We have families who need to do something when they feel helpless. Please join us at the walk or with a donation. For more information about Alzheimer's disease or the Memory Walk, go to www.alz.org.

Susan Charnigo

Drums