Walk, run bring awareness to memory loss

Above: Runners at the the beginning of the 5K run at the second annual Walk and 5K run for Memories.

MARSHALL–The second annual Walk for Memories held by the Marshall Area Awareness Network added a 5K run and activities to educate children about dementia.

“People are coming out that are all ages because a lot of them in the past have been older adults. So this one gets the kids and the younger generations to educate them about what dementia is and that’s not just only about aging,” said Jamie Lanners, Community Coordinator of the Marshall Area Awareness Network.

“This is my first year coming, and seeing the great turnout of families and their kids being out, its a good way for people to feel supported. Memory loss is something people try to hide, but it doesn’t have to be that way and we can all work together to provide resources to them,” said Melissa Maranell, an LSW, and patient care coordinator with Avera.

Booths were set up along the walk to educated the community about dementia including information about assisted living and transportation.

“This year we added, each booth has a kid’s activity or some kind of activity that relates to dementia,” said Lanners.

“A child could have a grandparent or younger onset could get a parent that has dementia. So to understand what it is and not be afraid of it. But to have the awareness and to embrace it and give them a good quality of life,” Lanners said.

Booths featured organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, Avera, and the Area Agency on Aging.

“I enjoy people, all the different people that come through. The smiling faces and the families, its just a really nice event to support. Not only if you yourself have memory loss, but also the family members and caregivers that are coming around to,” said Clarissa Dumdei, an ANP/GNP with Avera.

“I like how it brings our community together and brings more awareness to dementia and brings awareness to the caregivers as well,” said Jill Jay with the Heritage Pointe Senior Living.

Dumdei said Avera is the Marshall community health partner and Avera opened a memory clinic.

“It’ll be two years in September and so this is a really good opportunity to help people and explain services and really get them linked with the help they may need,” Dumdei said.

Lanners reported that the Marshall Area Awareness Network’s current project for the year is donating Grandpa and Lucy books to libraries and schools in the area. Along with their four quarterly events they hold. “So, our goal is to get a curriculum in to the schools or for them to have the books. There’s a short curriculum that goes with the book to educate younger kids about dementia,” Lanners said.

Lanners reported that the Marshall Area Awareness Network holds Dementia Friends, a weekly support group at Avera on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., and an Active Memories group the second Friday of the month.