Dear Editor:

We want to thank everyone who made this year's Alzheimer's Family Fun Festival & Walk to End Alzheimer's (formerly Memory Walk) a success. Between donations from businesses, organizations and individuals and 235 walkers across 30 teams that walked in Jim Thorpe – we raised over $27,100 to work for a cure to end Alzheimer's Disease.

Many of those who participated understand first-hand the devastation of this deadly disease, a significant motivator to work for a cure. My father, Frank E. Ruff, was one of its many victims.

Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the ONLY cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. While deaths between 2000 and 2008 declined between three and 29 percent for breast cancer, HIV, heart disease and stroke, Alzheimer's Disease deaths jumped 66 percent.

Those with the disease are not the only ones who suffer. The families and caregivers sadly watch their loved ones – sometimes for many years – as their minds and bodies deteriorate. But there's now help for those who care for someone with Alzheimer's or other dementia-related diseases. An Alzheimer's Support Group meets at 6:30 p.m. on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at St. John's Lutheran Church, 319 South Ave., Jim Thorpe. The meeting is free and open to the public. Feel free to drop by for discussions about aging, memory loss, tips for caregivers and opportunities to share your experiences and hope. For more information on the support group, contact Patti at 610-392-2380 or by email at dipper38@ptd.net [1].

Again, we commend all those who gave their time, talents and treasures to get us one step closer to a cure!

Kathy Ruff and

Committee Members of the

Alzheimer's Family Fun Festival