Hussey leads ‘Walk to remember’

Published 7:58 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In 1995, Ann Marie Hussey participated in the Alzheimer’s “A Walk to Remember” in honor of her dad, Ray Hickman. In 1996, she walked in memory of him.

“Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease because you lose your loved-one twice,” Hussey said. “You lose them to the disease and then you lose their body to death. They lose their dignity and their pride. They lose everything. It’s just so sad. It’s hard to explain. I just can’t do it.”

Hussey met Kay Jones, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Dothan, in Aug. 1995 when her dad was in the nursing home.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I’m an only child and Kay realized that I didn’t have anybody to talk to,” Hussey said. “She was an only child caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s like I was. She was a great help to me and I want to be a help to others.”

Because she knows how devastating Alzheimer’s is to the family of the victim, Hussey does all that she can to help others along the dark journey,

She is the facilitator of the Pike County Alzheimer’s Support Group and also the captain of the Oak Grove United Methodist Church’s A Walk to Remember team.

“The caregivers in our support group are so involved with their loved ones that our group is not meeting right now,” Hussey said. “But, I’m available to them at all times and they know they can call me at any hour. I’m also available to provide information to anyone who needs information about Alzheimer’s. I can get them started in the right direction and what their next steps should be. I’ll do all that I can to help because I know what it’s like to be where they are.”

Hussey and the Oak Grove UMC A Walk to Remember team will participate in the annual Walk to Remember on Oct. 3 at Westgate Park in Dothan and they invite others to join them in raising funds in support of the victims and caregivers of this devastating disease.

“The members of Oak Grove have been behind me all the way,” Hussey said. “When my dad was diagnosed, I went in church and told them about the Walk and that I was going to participate. Seven of them said they wanted to walk with me. Every year, since then some of them have walked with me.”

Each member of the team raises his or her own money. Hussey solicits sponsors and also has four yard sales a year that are fundraisers for the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Dothan.

“People know that all of the money I get from the yard sales go to the Walk and many of them bring sale items for me,” she said. “Sometimes, I don’t even know who brings them. I’ll just find a sack of things on the doorstep. People have been very supportive. I don’t think there are many people that don’t know someone that has been affected by the disease.”

The funds raised by A Walk to Remember are used to provide support packets to caregivers in the resource center’s 22-county area and to provide respite care.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to A Walk to Remember through the Oak Grove United Methodist Church team may do so by dropping a check off at Curves in Troy. Checks should be made to the Alzheimer’s Resource Center A Walk to Remember.

For more information, call Hussey at 566-1819.