MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Over 200 families joined together in McAllen Saturday morning in a walk to end Alzheimer’s.
A Valley caretaker, George Mesquita told ValleyCentral he lost his wife of 42 years to early-onset Alzheimer’s on March 28, 2021, and so he took the morning to walk in her honor.
Without the help of extended family members, a DHR Health support group, and the Alzheimer’s organization, Mesquita wouldn’t be where he is today. He added that the support group “really gave me a lot of relief and helped me through everything.”
Although getting the support Mesquita needed, he continues to want more change within the medical field.
“It starts with the medical schools with all the doctors,” said Mesquita. “Not just with a particular specialty, but with all doctors so that they’re really taught to learn how to look for this disease, all signs.”
For another Valley caretaker, Janie Lopez, medical professionals did not share all of the signs when she was concerned for her husband of 49 years.
Lopez said she only knew that there was something wrong and it could potentially be Alzheimer’s when her husband started seeing people who weren’t there, he would frequently get lost, he was overpaying their bills, and losing checkbooks.
Lopez’s husband was later diagnosed in his late 50’s with young onset dementia, frontal lobe with Lewy body.
There is more being done with the spread of Alzheimer’s awareness, but with more presentation of the ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’ event, more screenings, and more light on the disease, Lopez said there will be more change to follow.
According to Rio Grande Valley and Laredo’s Education Program Manager, Maxine Vieyra the ‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’ was held virtually the last two years.
The Alzheimer’s organization’s fundraising goal for the Upper Valley this year is $35,000. As of today, the organization has raised $22,143 from 283 participants. All proceeds raised will go into finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and providing support to families.
The organization will continue collecting donations through the end of the year. If you’re interested in donating, visit 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Upper Valley.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death for all adults, according to the CDC.