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Volunteers raise funds for Alzheimer's Disease research with a walk in Butte

Butte groups raise funds and awareness in fight against Alzheimer's Disease
Posted at 5:42 PM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-08 12:49:50-04

BUTTE — Individuals and groups are banding together with others across Montana to raise money and awareness for the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. Volunteers with the Alzheimer's Association of Montana and members of The Springs Living facility along with two Butte elementary schools joined in a walk to raise money for a larger walk that will be held in Bozeman on Sunday, Sept. 10.

"Currently we are working on letting people know that there is starting to be a treatment for people with early onset," says Julie Bushmaker, a community education volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association in Butte.

According to Bushmaker, Alzheimer’s and dementia currently affect about 22,000 people in Montana and she says early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms can start anywhere from 12 to 20 years before the disease is detected. So she encourages people to visit with their primary care physician if they are experiencing changes in their memory.

"So people need to go to their primary care physician, they can rule out if you think you’re having some symptom changes and stuff that can actually help people then get diagnosed early and treated early," says Bushmaker.

An encouraging message, says Bushmaker, who also reminds the public that Alzheimer’s is a disease that doesn’t just affect the individual.

"It affects the whole family because everyone becomes caregivers. There’s usually three stages of Alzheimer’s Disease: early onset, and then the moderate, and then the severe," says Bushmaker.

And the severe stage usually places patients in memory care units like the one offered at The Springs, so by gaining treatment early, Bushmaker says a patient can prolong their life—encouraging news indeed. But, she says there is no current cure for the disease so holding fundraising events like the awareness walk and fundraiser is key.

"We’re taking the proceeds from here and we’re taking it to Bozeman and including it in their walk on Sunday," says Bushmaker.

To participate in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's event in Bozeman, you can head to the Alzheimer's Association website to sign up or you can sign up at the event on Sept. 10 at the Bozeman Pond Park.

This year's walk in Bozeman is sponsored by Bozeman Health's Walk With a Doc Program and will be hosted by lifesyle and family medicine provider, Dr. Joe Sofianek.

Festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. with family fun including an appearance from the MSU cheerleading squad and a visit from Champ. The opening ceremony and subsequent walk will take place at noon.