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June 29th, 2017

Walk to Remember

By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young

Sisters help local community and advance Alzheimer's and dementia research

The annual Walk to Remember event draws more than 500 participants in northern Minnesota

Paula Peterson and Jill Wulff remember their mom's struggle with Lewy body dementia, the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease. She was easily confused and experienced hallucinations and paranoia. Paula and Jill also remember the family's struggle when their mother experienced symptoms of the condition.

"If it's cancer, people bring over meals," Jill says. "People come and visit or take the person out. But that's not the way it is with Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a very lonely and misunderstood disease."

Paula, Jill, their dad and family felt like they were alone. But they knew others in their rural community of Roseau, Minnesota — population 2,627 — were in the same position. So they began a support group for people with loved ones with various dementias and have been meeting monthly for the past 17 years. Here they are given a confidential setting among friends who know and understand what they are going through.

To raise awareness, the group started a fundraising event called Walk to Remember, a nonprofit organization and annual event that now attracts 500 participants each year. The event raises funds for local families affected by dementia and for Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's and dementia research.

Read the sisters' full story on the on the philanthropic site "You Are...the campaign for Mayo Clinic."

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Tags: About, Alzheimer's, Lewy Body, medical research, People, Walk to Remember

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