First Alzheimer's Community Forum in Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

First Alzheimer's Community Forum in Illinois

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CARTERVILLE, Ill. --  June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month and groups across the country are spearheading events to raise awareness.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, a progressive brain disorder leading to memory loss and changes in thinking and other brain functions. That includes more than 220 thousand people in Illinois, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

"My grandmother has Alzheimer's disease and ever since she was diagnosed, I knew I wanted to get involved and so that's actually how I came to the Alzheimer's Association," said Becky Doiron, Alzheimer's Association Manager of Education and Outreach.

"I was a volunteer and now I'm working for the association so it's a great way to get involved in the community, especially since there's such a need," Doiron said.

The Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter held the first community forum at John A. Logan College Wednesday night, hoping to help bridge the gap and better serve the community.

Melanie Adams serves as the Alzheimer's Association Director of Education and Outreach, serving 87 counties across Illinois. 

"We know that caregivers are overwhelmed and not feeling supported enough, so we're here to help not only find a cure to end the disease but to support the families and the people that are living with it right now," Adams said.

They offer services like support groups, office hours at their Carbondale location and a 24-7 helpline.

"24 hours a day, seven days a week, we can get families hooked up with the right support group or education program, conference, find a physician or neurologist, any reason anytime," Adams said.

Despite challenges that come along with the disease, they remain hopeful for the future. 

"There's really nothing but hope here, we have to look to the future, and if you've seen our Alzheimer's Association commercials, you know the tag line is the first survivor is still out there, we don't have a survivor for Alzheimer's yet and that's something to be hopeful for," Doiron said.

To learn more about Alzheimer's and brain awareness, click here.

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