From: Alzheimer’s Association of WV
Awareness and Opportunities Grow With Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Sharon M. Rotenberry, Executive Director for the Alzheimer’s Association WV Chapter, celebrated one year with the organization on August 14th. “This has been a wild and wonderful year of growth for the Association,” said Rotenberry. “We exceeded our goals for service contacts by 22%, reaching more of the 38,000 West Virginians with Alzheimer’s disease and their 108,000 caregivers.” Rotenberry’s grandmother, Annie Mosko, had Alzheimer’s disease for several years before she passed away in 1998. “We were in McDowell County, and people just didn’t talk about this issue. Alzheimer’s and dementia— those are diseases of the brain, not mental illness or eccentricity.”
The West Virginia chapter has offices in Charleston, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Martinsburg. The service all 55 counties in West Virginia, and provide services for 6 southeastern Ohio counties, and one county in southwest Virginia.
“Our staff is not afraid to travel, that’s for sure,” said Rotenberry. “We cover more distance than some regions in the Association. The population centers in our state are unique, with no real metropolitan areas. We know that we have to reach every corner of our service area to spread the word, and we do.” The Association also offers a 24/7 Helpline, 800-272-3900. “Call that number at any time, on any day, and you will speak to a qualified individual who can help,” says Rotenberry.
West Virginia has the third oldest population in the country. Over 435,000 residents are enrolled in Medicare. One in every five Medicare dollars is spent on someone with Alzheimer’s. Early diagnosis of the disease could save the country $31.8B by 2025. Rotenberry expanded by stating, “When you think about the number of West Virginians enrolled in Medicaid and the Public Employee Health Insurance plan who will be affected by this disease, the cost to our state will be devastating.” The Association’s nationwide goals include increasing early diagnosis, providing care and support to families affected by the disease, and providing seed money for research that improves treatment, and one day identifies a cure. “Right now,” says Rotenberry, “there are some exciting research break throughs. There is a drug in Stage 3 trials that has been shown to remove plaque from the brain and slow the progression of cognitive decline by as much as 30%. Additionally, studies show that aggressive treatment of blood pressure to maintain a systolic number that is no higher than 120mg/dl can delay and slow cognitive decline.” Funding from the Alzheimer’s Association, and participation in the Association’s Think Tank, led to these and other break throughs being announced at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago last month. “I’m getting to tell the people who provide support for our chapter about the progress researchers are making because of the time and financial donations they have contributed,” says Rotenberry. “Hope is progress.”
The West Virginia chapter will host Walk to End Alzheimer events in 11 locations throughout West Virginia and Ohio. To find the Walk To End Alzheimer’s closest to you, go to www.alz.org/wv.
For more information, press only:
Kelli Lewis, 304-389-7089, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharon M. Rotenberry, (304) 389-7089 cell, email@example.com, www.alz.org/wv.