Imagine a world without Alzheimer’s and other dementia related diseases. That is the vision of the Alzheimer’s Association, an organization that seeks to bring an end to the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The organization works to raise funds which go toward the advancement of research, provision of enhanced care and support for those affected with the disease, and the reduction of the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
The Alzheimer’s Association will host the 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 19, in downtown Longview. Event registration is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. and opening ceremonies are set to begin at 9:00 a.m. While no registration fee is required to participate in the Walk, registration is required and walkers are encouraged to make a personal donation and commit to raise funds for the organization. Walkers who raise at least $100 will receive an event t-shirt.
Jamie Benson serves as the co-chairperson for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She is passionate about the work performed by the organization because she sees the effects of the disease each day through her work with Hospice of East Texas.
“We have several patients with the disease and I have seen firsthand what an awful and degrading disease this is, and how it affects not only the person but the entire family – particularly the caregiver,” Mrs. Benson said. “Today, 5.3 million Americans are living with the disease, and through the funding for research, the Alzheimer’s Association’s goal is to find a cure by 2025.”
In addition to her work with the Alzheimer’s Association, Mrs. Benson also serves as the co-chairperson for the 2015 Women in Longview Day event and is a member of Mobberly Baptist Church, where she serves on the small group leadership team.
Mrs. Benson has a simple philosophy regarding volunteerism: “Don’t make work be all you do.”
“There are so many volunteer avenues in Longview and surrounding areas. Don’t just do your 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job; get out there and make a difference in your life and, more importantly, someone else’s,” she said. “I believe volunteering is a very worthwhile and fulling mission we are called to do.”
Born in Grand Prairie, Texas, Mrs. Benson moved to Longview eight years ago. She is married to her husband, Brian, and is the mother of two daughters, Taylor,19 and Maci,16. She works as the volunteer and community education coordinator for Hospice of East Texas.
After spending three decades living in larger cities, Mrs. Benson said returning to Longview has given her a new appreciation for the more relaxed lifestyle in East Texas.
“After returning to Longview after 30 years, my family and I have enjoyed the slower pace than Dallas and Chicago, where we came from,” she said. “Living in a small town enables you to know the community and community leaders on a more personal basis. Volunteering is also one of the ways you are able to help others and make good use of your spare time.”
For more information, or to register for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, please call 903-806-8038, or visit http://act.alz.org, click on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s link, then search for the Longview event page