The Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s a united movement to reclaim the future for millions brought out families and friends to the LeTourneau University campus in Longview for this famed annual event. The Walk raises awareness and funds needed to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s participants walked one mile and learned more about the disease, advocacy opportunities  clinical trial enrollment, and support programs and services of Alzheimer’s Association.
In addition, each walker joined in a meaningful tribute ceremony to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. According to President and CEO Mike Spencer, Alzheimer’s association, Greater Dallas Chapter the numbers of participants doubled this year.
Jack and Nelda Strong served as this year’s honorary chairmen of the event. Jack Strong, a former state senator, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, according to Carolyn Ramirez of the Alzheimer’s Association. “He was very active in a number of community organizations for many years, so he’s well known in the region,” she said. Jack Strong, his family and friends made the strongest showing – financially and numerically.
Dr John and wife Karen Hill also came on behalf of Jack and Nelda Strong. “He is a dear friend,” said Dr. Hill. “Our family has been touched by Alzheimer’s’ and we are here to support them.”
In addition, R&K Distributors continued their community benevolence and made a sizeable donation to the Alzheimer’s association.
Though scientists know that Alzheimer’s disease involves the failure of nerve cells, the reason for the failure is still unknown. Nonetheless, they have identified certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disease.
Age is the greatest risk factor. Most individuals who develop the disease are 65 and older.  Family history and genetics play a crucial role  also. Research has shown that those who have a parent,  brother or sister with Alzheimer’s are two or three times more likely to develop the disease. If more than one member of the family has the disease the risk becomes higher.
Furthermore, scientists have identified one gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s but does not guarantee an individual will develop the illness. In addition, research has revealed certain rare genes that virtually guarantees a person will develop the disease. The genes that directly cause the disease have been found in only a few hundred extended families in the globe and account for less than 5 percent. Experts therefore believe majority of the cases are caused by a complex combination of genetic and non-genetic influences.
But there is hope.  According to the Alzheimer’s association, there is a link between serious head injury and future risk of the disease. People are encouraged to protect the head by wearing seat belts or helmets when driving or playing sports. Also, do not forget to fall-proof the home.
Furthermore, overall healthy aging which includes eating a healthy diet; staying socially active, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol; exercising both the body and mind may help keep Alzheimer’s at bay.
Studies of donated brain tissues provide evidence for the heart-head connection linking brain health to heart health. Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure or high cholesterol puts an individual at a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, hence good health is important.

Jack and Nelda Strong at the recent 'Walk to end Alhzeimer's' event.