BUCHANAN, N.Y. -- Buchanan resident Kathy Kane hasn’t lost any blood relatives to Alzheimer’s disease, but the issue seems to touch her life profoundly on an ever growing basis.
Kane has had an up-close look at the disease’s impact as the mothers of seven people she is close to have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over the past 10 years. That's why when she first heard about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s last year, she wanted to get involved. Now she is captain of The Memory Keepers team that will participate in the Westchester Walk to End Alzheimer’s at White Plains High School on Sept. 25.
“It’s a little crazy when we step back and look at it… and all women, too,” she said. “It’s nuts.”
She said her involvement with Alzheimer's began when her best friend’s mother was diagnosed and died from the disease. Then the disease continued its path of devastation, striking the lives of others near and dear to her one after another. Watching people close to her deal with the realities of Alzheimer’s has been heartbreaking, she said.
“These people in my life are amazing to begin with,” Kane said. "But how they stepped up to become amazing caregivers has also been extraordinary."
She’s also watched those close to her grapple with the time constraints and financial burden imposed by the disease.
“They are giving up a lot of what otherwise would be their personal time, and they’re giving that time as much as they can to their parents. And there’s also the financial challenges of taking in a parent who is suffering from this disease, both on a day-to-day basis and also on a long-term basis," she added.
Her experience reflects a disturbing broader trend. More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, including 5.2 million 65 and older. It is projected that if no cure or means of prevention is found that by mid-century as many as 16 million Americans could have Alzheimer’s, she said.
“Unless we can turn the table on this, I see it becoming an epidemic. We need to step up and fight it on the front lines,” Kane said.
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