Walk to End Alzheimer's - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Walk to End Alzheimer's

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Hundreds of people were at ZooMontana Sunday to walk to end Alzheimer's.

For the Patterson family, Alzheimer's is a disease still affecting them. Their mom, Dorothy Patterson, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 14 years ago and she is still suffering from the disease.

"I think one of the first things I remember was my mom is an excellent cook, always was," said Patty Hamilton, her daughter. "And one Thanksgiving she couldn't remember how to stuff the turkey. It was devastating for her."

Medical experts say Alzheimer's debilitates people's brains. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

"It's important that people realize that Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging," said Suzanne Belser, director of Alzheimer's Association in Montana. "It's an epidemic of the 21st Century. We have over 5 million people in the United States with Alzheimer's, over 21,000 right here in Montana."

Team Dorothy brought the entire family: 7 children, 20 grandkids, and 15 great grandkids.

"She lost out on the opportunity to follow them in sports, just to be a part of their lives," Hamilton said. "It's really taken a lot away from her and my dad, and from all of us really. You don't realize how bad it is until someone you love has it."

They will continue to support her in many other ways.

"Even though we don't know for sure if she knows who we are anymore, you still see that glimmer in her eye when you show up so you go there as often as you can," Hamilton said.

The walk has already surpassed its fundraising goal by raising more than $58,000.