I participated in my fourth Alzheimer’s Walk today. I almost didn’t go because I have a banged up knee that is not responding to the current treatment plan of exercise/rest/ice/meds/ignore/repeat. (Yes. I’m going to the doctor next week.) I went anyway because it’s a great time with my colleagues. It’s impressive to see the size of the crowd that shows up on the National Mall. It reminds me how devastating this disease is, and how many are affected. Today I noted that there were healthcare providers like our hospice, facility staff members, family members and… patients.
This year, there were residents of an dementia unit participating in the mini-walk. One woman was carrying her baby doll, her caregivers beside her. A man was determinedly trudging down the sidewalk using his walker. Countless others were pushed in wheelchairs.
You can bet I sucked it up and walked. I walked for my patients and their caregivers. I walked for the families who have had a relative die due to complications of Alzheimer’s. I walked for my coworkers who go above and beyond every day.
I also walked because our healthcare system is inadequate and puts an undue burden on families of patients with this disease. It was ironic to be in sight of the US Capitol building, where attacks on affordable healthcare and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are on the agenda. But I am privy to the day-to-day heartache of watching their family member lose capacity, forgetting faces and names. I hear their concerns about “running out of money” because of the costs involved (which are not reimbursed!) I walked to honor the lives of my patients.
It’s simple. Research dollars help find treatments and a cure. Donations support caregivers and provide needed resources. And staff members and volunteers are reminded that their work with dementia patients and their families makes a difference.
So thank you to all who were among my sponsors. Thank you to the families and patients I represent. Thank you to my coworkers. Let’s keep walking.
P.S. it’s not necessary but you can still donate here!