Senior Staff Writer
Dave Kinder will have two people in mind when he joins the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s this Sunday at Stewart Park in Roseburg. One is his grandmother, whose whole personality changed when she developed severe Alzheimer’s disease when he was a child, and the other is his wife’s mother who went downhill rapidly and died soon after developing dementia.
Organizers estimate more than 400 people will attend the walk. In 2015, the walk raised nearly $40,000, contributing to more than $77 million raised nationwide. The money is used for Alzheimer’s care and support, as well as research aimed at ending the disease.
Kinder said his grandmother, Betty Kinder, was the type of grandmother who doted on the grandkids, giving them candy and baking amazing homemade bread. The family is Pennsylvania Dutch and had huge meals on Sundays, cooked by grandma.
Alzheimer’s changed everything.
“She became withdrawn. Her personality changed. You didn’t want to be around her because she was frightening, especially when you were a kid. My safe, happy, wonderful grandmother became very terrifying, and then she became almost like a baby and my grandfather had to care for her all the time, and the next thing I knew I had to go to the funeral,” he said.
As a financial adviser at Edward Jones, Kinder works with many people who either have or love someone who has Alzheimer’s. Kinder chairs the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter. In addition to his job as a financial adviser, he’s also the pastor of a small Southern Baptist church in Green called Faith and Reason Ministries.
“Dementia and Alzheimer’s are a very real struggle that we face here. Approximately 25 percent of our county is 65 and up, and that’s a lot higher than the national average,” he said.
Kinder will be walking on “Team Dan” Sunday. The team is named in honor of Edward Jones financial adviser Dan McLean of Grants Pass, who died of Alzheimer’s in June at the age of 57. One of the messages Kinder hopes people take away from Sunday’s event is that they are not alone.
“It feels so good because you’re not only making a difference, you’re getting the information out there that Alzheimer’s is real. Lots of people are facing it and they don’t know what to do. They don’t realize that there’s tons of free resources through the Alzheimer’s Association,” he said.
Kinder said anyone who doesn’t want to walk but does want to help out is welcome to volunteer. They can even show up the day of the walk and ask to be put to work, he said.
Sunday’s event also includes a Promise Garden ceremony, and information about the disease, advocacy opportunities, clinical studies enrollment and support programs.
Registration is at 10 a.m. Sunday, an opening ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 11 a.m.
Participants can start or join a team today at alz.org/walk or 541-354-8392, Ext. 1.