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‘I don’t want to lose any more friends’: Silver Bay veterans walk to end Alzheimer’s

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Walk to End Alzheimer's Silver Bay
Walk to End Alzheimer's Silver Bay
Walk to End Alzheimer's Silver Bay
Walk to End Alzheimer's Silver Bay

SILVER BAY, MN -- Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.

Studies show one-third of seniors die with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.

For many service members, the pains of war do not stop when they get home.

Donald Narveson served in the Vietnam War.

"I lost a lot of friends in Vietnam," he said. "I've lost a lot of friends here because of Alzheimer's."

Alzheimer's is a deadly disease that Narveson describes as a great thief.

"Alzheimer's steals your personality," he said. "It steals your mind. Eventually, it will steal your life."

That is why nearly 50 people walked around the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay Tuesday.

They were raising awareness for friends and families impacted by Alzheimer's.

Erin Thompson is the Life Enrichment Director for the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay.

"Getting that out there to other people and letting them know 'Hey, this is a disease and it's fatal.' The more awareness we can bring to it hopefully the more funding and things that we can to do provide for the people living with dementia," Thompson said.

The Silver Bay Veterans Home has two wings dedicated to serving veterans with memory loss problems.

"We're so very thankful to be able to give back to the veterans who have given so much for us to have the life we have today," Thompson said. "For me, it's just very rewarding to be able to give back to them."

With an accordion player leading the way, the group walked in support of the ones suffering and the people who care for them.

People walked with flowers in hand.

Each color represents families experiencing Alzheimer's, the people who lost loved ones, and the staff who care for them.

"It was great seeing all those people and the flowers and walking with the group that, yes, we all support this," Sarah Morgan, a veteran, said.

The walk's significance is not in how far they traveled, it is in why they did it.

"If one lap around the building will help, then I've done my part, and that's about all I can do," Narveson said.

The goals of the walk were to show patriotism, support the cause, and make sure no service member is left behind.

"I don't want to lose any more friends," Narveson said. "Not in combat and not railing against Alzheimer's."

One of the themes of the walk was 'We Leave No Fellow Service Member Behind.'

All of the money raised this month by the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay goes directly to programs that help people with memory loss.

Click here to donate.

One more walk will take place Tuesday, September 28.

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Kendall Jarboe

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