Hundreds of people spent Saturday morning in Big Spring Park for Walk to End Alzheimer's. The North Alabama walk has raised more than $140,000.
Jean Keighley told WAAY 31 her dad has Alzheimer's, and sometimes she's a stranger to her own father. She said she decided to walk and raise money in the hopes there will be a cure so she doesn't become a stranger to her own kids one day.
Keighley's father has accomplished a lot in his life.
“My father was one of the original Navy Seals," she said. "He was a Navy EOD, then he was a Secret Service agent for 30 years."
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's two years ago. The disease has recently started to impact him more.
“To watch a man who was our everything — who could do everything — to, at this point, be able to do basically nothing for himself," said Keighley. "There are times I’m absolutely falling apart at home just watching the devastation, watching the man we knew become somebody completely different.”
She said her dad usually doesn't recognize her as his daughter, but instead as his mother or sister.
Brenda Parris said she is a complete stranger to her mom.
"My mother knew me up until the point when I moved in with her, and then she didn’t know me anymore, and that was — that’s what hurts the most," Parris said.
It's the 10th annual Walk to End Alzheimer's, but it's Parris' 24th year walking with the Alzheimer's Association to honor her mom.
Both women have witnessed how the disease can impact a loved one. They decided to walk and raise money to hopefully prevent others from having to experience it as well.
“The time to raise the money, the time to find the cure, is now," said Keighley.
“It’s like I’ve got to do something, something to try to end Alzheimer’s, something to fight for the first survivor, hopefully someday," said Parris.
To donate to the Walk to End Alzheimer's, click here.