By The Voice on September 26, 2017
Shaun McDuffee and his crew of volunteers are in the midst of quite a few long walks.
Actually, it’s 36 long walks, of about 100 miles each. Their goal is to cover parts of all 50 states in a effort to raise both awareness and research funds for Alzheimer’s disease.
This weekend, the group will be on the Outer Banks. They began making their way south from Corolla Thursday, talking with people and raising money. By Friday afternoon, they’d made it to Kitty Hawk.
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Typically occurring in later stages in life, the disease slowly destroys memory, thinking skills and eventually the ability to carry out simple everyday tasks.
In September of 2013, Shaun McDuffee and his wife Kristin decided that they wanted to do something to combat this deadly disease and founded the nonprofit Stop Alzheimer’s NOW. The organization, commonly known as SAN, has committed to raise both awareness and research funds for Alzheimer’s by walking through populous areas across the United States. As of June, the group has walked 818 miles through 13 states.
This year has been a difficult year for McDuffee, as both of his parents passed away in the spring. Both of his grandmothers suffered from Alzheimer’s as well. His father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 15 years ago, but the real genesis of McDuffee’s drive to get involved with the cause was when his mother also developed it. The disease came on very suddenly for her after a heart bypass surgery and her mental faculties quickly deteriorated.
“A lot of Stop Alzheimer’s NOW came out of frustration on my part regarding the very little information out there. Very few people understood Alzheimer’s and there is not much out there to prevent it. The more I found, the more concerned I became,” McDuffee said in an article on the Stop Alzheimer’s Now website.
“This really is a pending epidemic that is just being ignored. Being a part of Stop Alzheimer’s NOW is like therapy for me—we’re just a small group of people but we had to do something about this,” McDuffee said in the article.