20 Aug 2014
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Sisters Organize For Walk To End Alzheimer's

Ann Marie Hahr of Pearl River and her sister Rose Stern, who lives in Arizona, organized Team Babby, which will participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's Sunday

Sisters Organize For Walk To End Alzheimer's

The 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer's will begin with a short ceremony 10 a.m. Sunday at the Romano Student Center on the St. Thomas Aquinas College campus in Sparkill.

A number of local families who have been touched by Alzheimer's disease will be participating.

Team Babby was organized by two daughters of 83-year-old Alzheimer's patient Mary McGurrin -- Ann Marie Hahr of Pearl River and Rose Stern, who will be coming in from Arizona for the walk. Their fundraising web page can be found here.

"My sister did (the walk) in North Carolina a few years ago," Hahr said. "There is so much research that can be done. Like everything else, things are getting cut back. This event raises money to raise awareness and to help with the research.

"We decided to do a family thing. Most of the family is walking. WE had our own t-shirts made up."

Hahr said the event has helped get more members of the family in contact, talking about the walk or her mother's condition. 

"Whatever they come up with will probably be too late for my mother. We've seen a pretty rapid decrease for her the last six months or so. Then it is the point of figuring out where is the best place for them to be. Historically, I've seen in my life, if people are taken out of their environment, it becomes 10 times worse.

"Right now, my mother is still in her own home. A wonderful woman comes to take care of her every day, but it's not a forever solution."

Hahr said that Rockland County Legislator John Murphy helped put her in touch with the Alzheimer's Association. Murphy will be walking with Team Babby Sunday along with his wife and Orangetown Councilman Denis Troy. 

"(The Alzheimer's Association) has been a tremendous resource for me. They are very open," Hahr said. "They are very helpful with assistance, such as sending somebody to the house to do an evaluation, finding resources and things to go to." 

Hahr did she was sadded to see some people turn away from her mother rather than offer more support.

"If my mother had cancer, a lot more people, friends and family both, would pay a lot of attention to her," Hahr said. "Because she has Alzheimer's, people got sick of listening to her repeat herself. It's very sad. People don't bother with her."

She knows the time is coming when her mother may not recognize her own family or may start to wander. The family feared she had done that last month, but it turned out she was out with friends and there had been a miscommunication. 

Hahr said it is often important for the families to find others whos lives have been touched by Alzheimer's. 

"You need to know you are not alone in the problem," Hahr said.

Hahr said she just recently found out that includes the O'Grady family of Orangetown, who will also be taking part in the walk. To read more about the walk, read the latest entry in Siobhan O'Grady's blog, Dealing With Alzheimer’s, here. 

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