Alzheimer's disease is a growing problem in the United States: about 5.4 million people have this neurological disorder, according to the Alzheimer's Association's “2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures”. The numbers are estimated to grow as the baby boomers are beginning to turn 65 years old. Women also have a higher prevalence of Alzheimer's disease. In the same report from the Alzheimer's Association, about two-thirds of Alzheimer's disease patients are women. “The reason more women have Alzheimer's disease is the fact that they typically live long. While Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging, age is the highest risk fact of developing Alzheimer's disease,” said Angela Geiger, Chief Strategy Officer of the Alzheimer's Association in an email interview. “Research is being conducted to examine other theories that may point to why more women develop Alzheimer's disease, but no conclusions have been made and more research needs to be done in this area.”
In a campaign to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's disease research, Alan Arnette will climb the seven peaks around the world in one year. His campaign, called “The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer's: Memories are Everything,” hopes to raise $1 million dollars for research. Arnette has summited the third peak, Mt. Everest, which is his most challenging climb. He stated that through this journey, “the hardest part has been not knowing if I was reaching people through climbing. But with my Everest summit, I have been overwhelmed and gratified with the response so it feels like people are understanding that climbing is a metaphor for the challenges of Alzheimer's. It is easy to climb mountains as compared to the struggle of individuals and families with Alzheimer's. I think of my mom and her journey and that every 70 seconds [another] family starts the same tragic journey with the same ending.”
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