Thomasville Times Enterprise

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July 16, 2008

'Elvis' ready to take spotlight at Memory Walk event

THOMASVILLE — Elvis is ready to enter the building.

Southwest Georgia Technical College and Alzheimer’s Association have reteamed for the 10th annual Dr. Jim Neill Memory Walk kickoff event, “Elvis, A Night to Remember.”

“We’ve never had a kickoff event with dinner and entertainment, nothing as elaborate as an Elvis impersonator (Robby Pitts),” Tammy Bryant, walk co-chair and nursing instructor at SWGTC, said. “We’ve got the Thomas University Jazz Band and silent and live auctions. We’ve never done anything to this degree.”

The evening also includes a prime rib dinner provided by John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital and Southern Pines.

The walk is held each year to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association, an organization dedicated to helping those afflicted with the disease (patients and caregivers), as well as raise funds for researching a cure.

Betty Sawyer, a social worker at Plantation Manor who lost a loved one with Alzheimer’s, said “everybody knows someone with Alzheimer’s or someone who has been affected by it.”

“People have to wrestle with this disastrous disease that affects not just the patient — who can forget daily activities and their loved ones — but also the families and the caregivers,” she said.

Sawyer said more awareness is needed about the disease.

“Right now, 199,000 Georgians have Alzheimer’s Disease,” Dan Phillips, development director for the Southwest Georgia Region of the Alzheimer’s Association, said. “Every 71 seconds someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. It is the number six leading cause of death. Right now, there is no cure and no survivors. Drugs are in the pipeline so we may be looking at years (instead of never) for a cure.”

Dr. Robert Garrison, walk chair and vice-president of behavioral medicine at Archbold, said the event has had “good input from organizations on being sponsors” but community support is still vital to the event’s success.

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