Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities series enough to interfere with daily life. The disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, but Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
When his grandfather’s, Garland Eugene Ferrell and Paul Barkman, passed away with Alzheimer’s, the Ferrell family couldn’t sit back and watch other families face this horrific disease. Junior Luke Ferrell and his family started an Alzheimer’s Awareness team called “G-Force” with the “G” standing for Garland, Luke’s grandfather.
The team has been participating in the “End to Alzheimer’s Walk” every fall since 2014 near the Indianapolis Circle. This year, the team walked on October 6thwith 38 total middle and high school students. In 2018, G-Force raised $6,500. In total, they have raised $13,000 in support for a cure to end Alzheimer’s.
Sixth grader, Jack Ferrell, captain of the middle school members, loves that his friends support him in the walk. They participate with him in many fundraising activities.
“We raise money through bake sales, asking people for donations, and participating in the Longest Day Fundraiser. The longest day is the Summer Solstice on June 21stand it is to shine light on the darkness of Alzheimer’s, said Jack.
According to Alzheimer’s Association, thousands of participants across the world come together to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through an activity of their choice. They use their creativity and passion to raise funds and awareness for the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.
History teacher, Dave Ferrell, gives his input on the students’ support for their family and the end of Alzheimer’s.
“I am extremely proud of the middle school and high school kids that participated in the event. It is a great way for them to give back to the community and to find a better cause,” said Ferrell.
The G-Force Team is always willing to accept any members no matter how old you are. Mr. Ferrell offers that you can always ask him or any of the captains for information. They are open to anyone but believe fundraising is their only soft qualification to join the team.