MC

Mississippi College

Jackson Walk to End Alzheimer’s Set for September 15

August 29, 2012

Mississippi College faculty, staff, students and alumni are invited to join Jackson’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s on September 15.

Set to begin at the Mississippi Museum of Art Garden at 10 a.m. that Saturday in downtown Jackson, the fall event is of special importance to Mississippi College professor Melanie Fortenberry.

Her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the last 15 years of his life, and the Mississippian watched as her mother became his primary caregiver. “Her health suffered and they lived the last seven and eight years in a nursing home,” Fortenberry said. Her dad died in 2008, and her mother passed away one year later.

The director of MC’s Health Services Administration program, Fortenberry is an active board member with the Mississippi Alzheimer’s Association. Part of the Chicago-based national organization, the group seeks to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, enhanced care for all affected and by reducing the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that attacks the brain and is the most common form of dementia. Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with the disease, including one in eight older people. Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the nation.

Fortenberry anticipates the September 15 walk in Jackson will attract 500 participants. She’s hoping members of the Mississippi College family will add to those numbers. Similar walks are happening around the state, including Southaven on September 8, Tupelo on September 29, Hattiesburg and Greenwood on October 6, Meridian and Columbus on October 14, and Biloxi on November 17.

Any donations and gifts from the walks will help fight Alzheimer’s through vital research and support programs. To donate by phone, call 601.987.0020. To reach the Alzheimer’s Association go to www.alz.org or 1.800.272.3900. Professor Fortenberry can be reached at forten00@mc.edu.