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Wall of Memories remembers family members affected with Alzheimer's

Published September 24. 2010 05:00PM

As part of the second annual Alzheimer's Family Fun Festival & Memory Walk, the Ruff Family is accepting pictures of those struck by the disease to include on this year's Wall of Memories.

The Wall of Memories is a pictorial display to honor, remember and support local people with Alzheimer's Disease. The Wall will be unveiled at this year's festival on Oct. 9 at the Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

If you'd like your loved one to be included in the Wall of Memories, send your photo to 38 Chestnut Hill, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229. Pictures will not be able to be returned.

"Our goal with the event is to put local faces on the disease, to remember for those who can't and to create new memories for families who are or may be affected by the disease," says Kathy Ruff, one of the coordinators of the event.

This year's Alzheimer's Family Fun Festival and Memory Walk begins with a walk along the grounds of the old Switchback Gravity Railroad bed beginning at the Mauch Chunk Lake Park. The event includes live music, a car cruise with Jukebox Cruisers and Tamaqua Street Machine Association, free games and contests, chair massages, bake sale and drawings for a Chinese auction and a Memory Quilt.

For more information on the Wall of Memories or to get involved with the Alzheimer's Family Fun Festival & Memory Walk, call Kathy at (570) 645-3059 or email

According to the Alzheimer's Association's® 2010 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, 5.3 million Americans live with the disease and every 70 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer's disease. In 2010, there will be a half million new cases of Alzheimer's, and there will be more new cases in each subsequent year. In 2050, there will be nearly a million new cases.

Alzheimer's was the seventh leading cause of death in the country in 2006, the latest year for which final death statistics are available. It was the fifth leading cause of death among individuals aged 65 and older. From 2000-2006 death rates have declined for most major diseases - heart disease (-11.1 percent), breast cancer (-2.6 percent), prostate cancer (-8.7 percent), stroke (-18.2 percent) and HIV/AIDS (-16.3) while Alzheimer's disease deaths rose 46.1 percent.

According to the new report, in 2009, nearly 11 million family members and other unpaid caregivers provided 12.5 billion hours of care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias, an amount of unpaid care valued at $144 billion. In fact, Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers provided care valued at more than $1 billion in each of 36 states, and nine states saw an Alzheimer and dementia caregiver contribution valued at $5 billion or more per state.

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