By golfing for Alzheimer's, brothers remind us to not forget those struggling to remember
When we look back at the young with envy, it’s brothers like Matt and Mike Hannaford of Cape Coral, Fla., that we see. The two are young, energetic and golfers of the highest order - in the last junior golf national ranking Matt is ranked second overall in the 14-15-age division of Florida while Mike is 26th.
It would not be surprising to see the Hannaford’s bask in the delicious narcissism that comes with being talented teenagers, but the two are showing game off the course, as well.
After a grandparent was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s recently, the brothers took the issue to their clubs, and hastily organize a marathon golf outing to raise money for research on the disease. The two played 112 holes in a day at the Cape Coral Executive Golf Course, raising $501 for the Alzheimer’s Association. And in another “I wish I could be a teen again for at least a day,” moment, the two seemed upset that darkness forced them to stop.
“They were full of energy at the end of the day, actually running off the greens trying to play one more hole before darkness,” mother Karen Hannaford told News-Press.com. “Considering we planned this event in a short period of time, about three weeks, the boys were pleased with the results.”
The brothers played 12 rounds over the nine-hole course plus an additional four holes while collecting $10 donations for raffle prizes that were awarded after they completed each nine holes, according to News-Press.com. The two are looking to do the fund-raising challenge again, but not until June, so that they can truly get organized and maximize donations.
It is without exaggeration to say that Alzheimer’s is a disease that often gets overlooked or spoken of in low tones. But who amongst us has not been touched by this nightmarish disease, that eventually erases the person out of the body?
While stem-cell treatment has given many hope, nothing is yet proven in that dynamic field. Still, other research continues to make breakthroughs, including a recent discovery of how the brain ages by Duke University Medical Center. Also,
Another non-scientifically proven, but commonly promoted line of thinking has entered the fight against Alzheimer’s: exercising the brain. A recent article in the New York Times, “As Minds Age, What’s Next? Brain Calisthenics,” examines how seniors are taking the “use it or lose” it approach to brain health. Seniors, Web sites and even health insurance companies are jumping on board with the idea that exercising the brain can be as vital as exercising the body.
For Alzheimer’s sufferers, their caregivers and their loved ones, it is a heartbreaking, brutal disease that is always with them. Many of us, however, choose to overlook it. It is a disease that takes place behind closed doors. Which is why it’s heartening to see two young men like the Hannaford’s step up and address Alzheimer’s when it touched them.
More than 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and in a rapidly growing senior population, that number could explode in the coming decades. Progress has been made, and will continue to be made in the fight against Alzheimer’s, so long as more of us do like the Hannaford’s and keep our eye on the ball.
For more information, head over to the Alzheimer’s Association or call (800) 272-3900. Right now, the Nartel Family Foundation is matching every donation, so your holiday donation will be immediately doubled.
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