Family says Walk to End Alzheimer's in Fayetteville is in honor of their mother, others

ByMonique John via WTVD logo
Friday, October 28, 2022
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Walk to End Alzheimer's is in Fayetteville at Segra Stadium; opening ceremony and walk starts at 10 a.m. Meet the team who makes it a family event in honor of their mother.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- "Enjoy those moments, those times when they are lucid, when they do know who you are."

The world's largest fundraiser to stop Alzheimer's is coming to Fayetteville Saturday with the Walk to End Alzheimer's happening at Segra Stadium at 10 am.

It comes just before the start of National Caregivers Month, a period commemorating over 11 million people across the country caring for people with the disease.

One Raeford family says caring for their mother, Louise Edwards, since she developed Alzheimer's in 2015, has been a team effort. She is one of almost 200,000 people in North Carolina living with Alzheimer's. The family is taking part in the walk, fundraising under their team name, "Lou Bell's Legacy."

"When you are caring for someone with that disease and you have a firsthand, personal experience with it, it's really terrible. And you don't want anybody--even your worst enemy--to go through that.," said Edwards' daughter, Brenda Sutton.

Sutton and her sister, Peggy Edwards, take pride in taking care of their mother. Still, they say it's tough seeing her like this.

"You just wonder what is she thinking when you sit and watch her," Edwards said. "What is she thinking? What is actually going on? It actually breaks your heart to see her like that when you know that at one point in time she was this vibrant lady."

Before Alzheimer's, her children say Louise Edwards was a generous, God-fearing woman in the community. They say she was a fashionista and best of all, a comedian.

"We'd say, 'oh my goodness, you look so good today,'" Sutton said. "And she's say, 'I don't know any other way to look.'"

So far, Lou Bell's Legacy has raised about $12,000.

Sutton says that even though so many people in the family and in their community have pitched in to help, her mother's condition has taken a major toll on everyone. She advises others caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's to reach out and have compassion.

"Enjoy those moments, those times when they are lucid, when they do know who you are, when they do know where they are. And you gotta be patient. You gotta remember that this is not them. This is the disease that is making them do the things they do and act the way they act," Sutton said.

Lisa Roberts, the executive director of the Alzheimer's Association's Eastern North Carolina chapter echoes Sutton's advice, noting how Alzheimer's can be isolating. But she says one of the joys of the Alzheimer's walk is how it unites people.

"They get the support to know that they can look to their left and look to their right and they can see people that are there for the same reason that they are," Roberts said. "That common mission has really brought people together and given them the emotional support that they need to go through this journey."

The Alzheimer's Association says Cumberland County has already raised over $130,000, 80% of its goal before the walk. anyone looking to learn more can visit the Association's website.