Alzheimer’s walk needs more cowbell

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The Alzheimer's Association needs more cowbell!

Cash, that is, to help families cope with the agonizing effects of Alzheimer's disease.

Each year, the Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association holds the Walk to End Alzheimer's. It is an effort to raise money and awareness about the disease, and hopefully someday find a cure.

Walkers pledge money and their time hoping to win the coveted title of "champion." Any walker who raises $500 dollars, gets the title and a cowbell to wear around their neck.

Oklahoma Chapter President Mark Fried came up with the catchy idea.

"We could give you a medal, we could give you some sort of slap on the back, but we want to make it fun," Fried said.

Fried came up with the concept based on a Saturday Night Live skit with WIll Farrell and Christpher Walken. In it, Farrell and Walken wildly played a cowbell and said they needed more of it.

A not-so-fun reality is that dealing with Alzheimer's is no laughing matter. The person diagnosed faces a slow, painful mental decline that can take years. Their loved ones forced to make their way through an avalanche of health care decisions.

Over five million people in the U.S. are living with the disease - a number expected to triple by 2050, and Oklahoma is no exception.

"No one wants to be a part of this disease, no one wants to be effected. Everyone wants to eradicate it, so that no more families have to deal with it," Fried said. "We give them a fun way to take a swing at Alzheimer's disease."

There are six hundred walk events held across the country, and Oklahoma is leading the way. Last year, Oklahoma's fundraising efforts came in at number 24 in the nation.

"The people who are dealing with this disease need to have someone who can help them, someone who can guide them through their journey, and to walk with them through that journey," Fried said.

Last year, almost 100 people earned their cowbells. This year, organizers of the Walk to End Alzheimer's hope to double or even triple that number with your help.

This year's walk will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

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