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Walk_to_End_Alzheimers(Chelsea Update would like to thank the Alzheimer’s Association for this story.)

Team Passionate About Purple will be joining the movement to end Alzheimer’s disease by taking part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, Oct. 5 that begins at the Clocktower.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. and the 2.8-mile walk starts at 9 a.m. with a shorter route also available.

For Team Captain Renae Kempf, this walk is very personal.  She and her team are walking in honor of her grandmother, Charlotte DeBoe.

“My grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 when she was 71 years old,” she said in a press release. “Since I lived with my grandmother, I was the first to notice something was ‘off’.  Soon after, our family decided it was time to get things checked out.  The news was devastating at first, considering that none of us knew anything about the condition.”

She said, “When I was only 11 years old, I found myself reversing roles as I became my grandmother’s caregiver. I helped her with the little things she had a hard time remembering to do – like eating three meals a day, taking her medication in the morning and at night, and bathing.”

Then, about a year after her diagnosis, it was apparent that her driving skills were affected. “Grandmother was concerned because she felt that her independence was being taken away,” Kempf said. “She eventually became accustomed to going places, like the grocery store, with one of her five children as a mode of transportation.”

Several years ago, DeBoe mistakenly took three dosages of her morning medication for a total of 39 pills in a matter of hours and ended up in the hospital.

She had restricted blood flow to her heart and went into cardiac arrest four times before she was completely responsive and stable. If she had not received immediate medical attention, she probably would not be here today.

“Although this is still a very scary memory for my family, my grandmother has no recollection of even being in the hospital,” Kempf said. “She also does not remember me living with her or caring for her on weekends and all throughout the summer for well over five years. But, I can now gladly say that she is physically healthy and doing well.”

DeBoe now lives in a local retirement community in an Alzheimer’s care wing and enjoys playing card games with the other residents.

“We are blessed to be participating in our first Walk to End Alzheimer’s because we know very well how hard Alzheimer’s can be,” Kempf said. “My grandmother is the most important person in my life, and I plan on being involved with this cause until we find a cure so that no family ever has to experience the worry, stress and fear that goes along with Alzheimer’s.”

There are about 180,000 families in Michigan personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information or to register for the walk, click here or call 800-272-3900.

For more information about other events talking place in Chelsea, click here.

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