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Large crowd turns out for Memory Walk

September 14, 2010
By GARRETT NEESE Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - About 100 people braved the rain for the annual Memory Walk, even as they mourned the end of a longtime local program providing support for families dealing with dementia.

The national Alzheimer's Association holds the event each year to raise awareness and funding for Alzheimer's sufferers and the families who care for them. This is the 10th year locally for the walk.

This is the fifth year walking for Trish Burton of Lake Linden, whose mother died a year ago.

"It's a good thing," she said of the walk. "You get a lot of information and it brings everybody together with the disease."

They raised $4,076 Saturday, including $1,821 from the Toivola seniors, said Marja Salani, specialist in aging services at Copper Country Mental Health, as well as $2,500 from online donations.

Salani's position with Copper Country Mental Health is being eliminated due to cuts in the state block grant that provides its funding.

Salani said cutting the program will hurt the area.

"We have had aging services for 20 years, and we have been able to help a lot of families dealing with dementia diagnoses," she said.

The aid and support the program provided has helped families take care of their relatives without placing them in nursing homes, which can cost up to $72,000 a year, Salani said.

"Respite is the most important thing that we can do to support our family caregivers, and we no longer have the dollars," she said.



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