Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Teens reflect on agony caused by Alzheimer's

Advertiser Staff

In January, PBS first broadcast its heart-rending documentary, "The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's," about the debilitating disease that affects about 20,000 in Hawai'i and about 5 million nationwide. Its recent victims included former President Ronald Reagan.

"The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's," to be broadcast tomorrow on PBS, follows the stories of several patients with the disease, including Gladys Fuget, shown with grandson Chris. She has been afflicted with Alzheimer's for about 10 years.

Twin Cities Public Television

After it first aired, local organizations noticed an increase in calls — with a difference, said Janet Eli, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association Aloha Chapter.

"Now, people are calling with more involved questions, looking at long-range planning," she said. "The calls we are getting are more complicated ... people looking toward making informed decisions, seeing what resources are available."

Students who viewed the documentary were invited to write essays about how Alzheimer's touched them in a contest co-sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association, PBS-Hawai'i and The Honolulu Advertiser. Six of them won $500 each.

In June, we published three winning essays. Here are the final three:

 •  Stricken family members deserve loving care
 •  Woman we relied on disappeared
 •  Grandma's needs strengthens love

The top 20 essays will appear in a book that will be sent to high schools across the Islands as part of a peer education project.

"Who better to talk to other teens about the experience than other teens?" said Eli, who added that the essays represented the fabric of Hawai'i's culture, with every ethnicity and socio-economic range covered. "Alzheimer's is an equal-opportunity disease," Eli said.

• • •

  • 8 tomorrow night
  • PBS

More about Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Association Aloha Chapter: 591-2771, www.alzhi.org; after hours, national 24-hour hot line: (800) 272-3900

Honolulu Elderly Affairs Division: seniors hot line, 523-4545

Aloha United Way: 24-hour help line, 211

Memory walk/5K run

  • Saturday, Aug. 28
  • Registration: 6 a.m.
  • Opening Ceremony: 6:45 a.m.
  • Run/Walk begins: 7 a.m.
  • Ala Moana Beach Park. Begins and ends at Fisherman's Wharf restaurant. Activities afterward include entertainment by the Opihi Pickers at Ward Warehouse.
  • 591-2771

The Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk is the largest national fund-raising event for support programs for Alzheimer's disease.

Hundreds of O'ahu residents will join the fight against the disease at the annual walk/5K run. The walk-a-thon and timed run raise public awareness and money for local services for patients, their families and caregivers.