Alzheimer's rock-a-thon scheduled for Saturday

6/19/2015

If you drive by Tuscan Slice Italian restaurant in Greenville this Saturday, you may find more rocking chairs than cars in the parking lot. The restaurant will play host to “The Longest Goodbye Rock-A-Thon,” a fundraiser designed to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s treatment in Hunt County, on Saturday, June 20, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

The event promises a full day of activities, including rocking in rocking chairs, live music and plenty of support for those affected by the disease. Coordinators are asking Hunt County citizens to pledge $20 for an hour of rocking. If you don’t want to rock or are unable to attend the event, you may designate someone else to rock in your place. Parents and grandparents looking for a way to pass their Saturday afternoon are encouraged to attend and use the time spent rocking to read a book to children or grandchildren.

In a community known for its philanthropic spirit and strong anti-cancer groups, it would be easy to sit back as other illnesses such as Alzheimer’s wreak silent havoc in the background. However, after seeing the devastating effects of the incurable disease firsthand, Greenville local Julie Horn decided to take action.

“I just lost my dad in February to Alzheimer’s after 9-1/2 years,” said Horn.

“My family lives in Louisville, Kentucky so it was really hard to not be there with my family on a daily basis,” she said, adding that because of its size, Louisville is able to offer many in-home services for Alzheimer’s patients.

“I want to make sure that we are offering the same types of services, and I want to make sure that it is done inside Hunt County,” she said.

Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed. Alzheimer's also takes a devastating toll on caregivers. Due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving, Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers had $9.7 billion in additional health care costs of their own in 2014.

“My main goal is to get people to start talking about it and not be afraid,” said Horn who has also worked closely with radio personality Friendlee in coordinating the event.

In addition to raising money, event coordinators hope to help those suffering from the disease—as well as their caregivers—find support within the community. Information about resources for caregiver support, legal advice and emotional support will be available at the event.

“There is a genetic component to the disease. I don’t know that I won’t get it or that my brothers won’t get it,” said Horn.

“I may not be able to miss the disease but I might be able to prevent my children from getting it,” she said.

All of the proceeds from Saturday’s event will benefit the Hunt Regional Healthcare Foundation and will be designated for Alzheimer’s related projects. Horn says that by allowing the hospital foundation to receive the funds, donors can make sure that all of the money raised stays in Hunt County. Following the event, Horn plans to be part of a committee which will allocate how the funds are used and make sure the money goes where it is most needed. Online donations can be made at www.huntregional.org/onlinegiving.

The rock-a-thon will run from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. in the Tuscan Slice parking lot Saturday, June 20. Live music will begin at 1 p.m. featuring The Blandelles, The Blues Doctors, Lou Ann Petty and Mike Castleberry.

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