Walk to End Alzheimer’s set for Saturday

Submitted Photo Debbie Anderson and Les Anderson were the honorary family for the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Minot.

Defenders of Debbie is a team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, put together by Jessica Nelson, her sister, Jennifer Noteboom, and their dad Les Anderson. Debbie Anderson was a loving mother and wife, who had battled Alzheimer’s for 10 years, when she passed away in 2021.

The Defenders of Debbie started their team at the Kansas City Walk to End Alzheimer’s, where Noteboom lives. Nelson said the walk was located in a big area with bands playing, vendor booths and a fun environment with that urban feel.

In Minot, Nelson said the walk is really nice with everyone meeting at Oak Park. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 10 a.m. with the two-mile walk to follow. The walk will be Aug. 27.

The ceremony, Nelson said, has a speaker who talks about Alzheimer’s and really spends time talking about care givers and how they go through it first hand and how draining and difficult it is. The CNAs are very special people, Nelson said. Nelson’s mother Debbie, fortunately was able to spend most of her years at home with her husband, Les Anderson.

A representative of the organization hands out the nylon pinwheel flowers for a Promise Garden where the walkers are encouraged to write names on petals and plant them in the ground. Nelson said there are different colored flowers that convey the relationships to those with Alzheimer’s, Purple represents those who have lost a loved one. Orange is supportive, Blue is a loved one currently with the disease, and Yellow are the caregivers for someone with the disease.

Submitted Photo Jessica Nelson and her father Les Anderson with their team Defenders for Debbie, sell T-shirts at a past Walk to End Alzheimer's held in Minot.

Nelson said that the nature of this disease exhibits similar signs and behaviors in people but the reality is diagnosis is not 100% until the disease has taken a life. Symptoms generally go by having a parent or loved one that has passed away and everyone has such different stories of how the disease steals the person’s life.

Nelson said her mother had lost the ability to walk, would get quite anxious when her husband was not with her, confused people and situations, misplaced items and completely reversed life habits and behaviors. For example, Nelson said, Debbie never used swear words prior to the disease taking hold, but then used a lifetime’s worth after.

It is very possible to find Les Anderson floating around the Walk to End Alzheimer’s handing out purple bracelets. He always wears two of them, to give one away and spread awareness, Nelson said. Participants are encouraged to wear purple and have fun with team themes. Oak Park’s farmers market vendors will also be supporting the event by wearing purple, Nelson said.

There is no cure, but raising awareness and funding can grow support and help with research.

To find out more about the Minot walk or to register, go online to act.alz.org/minot.


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