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River#8217;s Bend helping out Alzheimer#8217;s Association through fundraisers

SOUTH POINT — Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease that affects thousands of people in the region. The residents and staff at River’s Bend Health Care in South Point are trying to do what they can to raise money for research and programs that will help those afflicted with the illness locally and their families.

The facility is working with the West Virginia Alzheimer’s Association to raise money for the upcoming Memory Walk at Marshall University Sept. 16. The association provides support for those affected by the disease in the Tri-State area, including counties in southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky. The walk is the group’s only major annual fundraising effort.

The 80 residents at the facility have already raised more than $250 for the cause through bake sales. They are hoping to make about twice that much by sponsoring more bake sales, hot dog sales at the facility and possibly a car wash and a rummage sale in the community.

The facility residents’ council decided to help out when they found out that the River’s Bend staff was participating in the Memory Walk, according to Nicki Bates, facility admissions, marketing and public relations coordinator. Bates is on the committee, organizing the walk, an event in which about 25 staff members will be participating.

“They heard what we were doing and they really wanted to be a part of it,” she explained. “Their motto is ‘They can bake a difference.’”

Bates said there are about 45,000 people who have Alzheimer’s in the local association’s coverage area. Many of River’s Bend’s residents have the disease or have been touched by it in some way, she said.

“It’s (Alzheimer’s) worse than cancer in many ways,” Bates said.

Anyone wanting to help out with the cause can contact River’s Bend for more information. Donations will be accepted until the day of the walk.

The River’s Bend residents have also been working on a project to send care packages to children in Haiti. With the help of the staff, they gathered a variety of items including toiletries and school supplies to box up and send to the children in the hopes that the gifts can arrive in time for Christmas.

The facility’s administrator Ron Lyons was the catalyst behind the project, Bates said, because his church, New Life Church, was also making care packages and will be sending the facility’s packages, as well.

Bates said each of the projects has special meaning to the residents. Many of them were involved in community service before they were residents and are thrilled to be helping others again, she said.

“They want the community to know that they don’t need other people helping them, they want to help other people,” Bates said.