By Sarah Shepherd
In 1901, a German physician was presented with an unusual and never before seen case. His patient was a 51 year-old woman who seemed to be suffering from mental problems. In addition to having several bouts of memory loss, she accused her husband of being unfaithful. She had difficulty understanding simple things that we being said to her and she could no longer perform certain actions. The physician attempted to treat her as best he could, but never before seeing these symptoms together in one person proved to be a major stumbling block. He monitored her as these symptoms intensified, and within a few years she was completely bedridden. Less than 5 years later, the woman was dead. The causes of death were pneumonia and infections caused by bedsores. The doctor published his findings after the autopsy, and in 1910 it was suggested by a fellow physician that the disease be named after this German doctor. The debilitating brain disorder was henceforth known as Alzheimer’s Disease.
According to the National Alzheimer’s Association, a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 72 seconds. The disease affects the brain by destroying brain cells. This leads to memory loss and causes problems with things such as motor skills and thinking processes. The cause of Alzheimer’s has yet to be determined. Even worse, no cure has been found. Approximately 5 million Americans are living with this disease, which is unfortunately a fatal illness. It is estimated that over 500,000 people are living with early onset Alzheimer’s, which affects people under the age of 65.
Every one of us knows someone or knows of someone who has been touched by Alzheimer’s disease. Whether it is a person suffering directly, or a family member dealing with the illness of a relative, it affects millions of people every day across the world. Not only is this disease absolutely devastating for those suffering from it, but usually more so for the family and friends of the person affected. It’s for this reason that Alzheimer’s Awareness Month was created.
Commonly recognized during November, Alzheimer’s Awareness Month brings attention to a disease that desperately needs it. Because there is no cure and the cause has not yet been found, Alzheimer’s Awareness Month serves as a yearly opportunity to raise money for research. Just like Breast Cancer Awareness month, there are several walks that are sponsored across the country, along with many other events. The money raised not only assists in research, but also in treatment. In addition to the fundraising opportunities that Alzheimer’s Awareness Month brings, it also serves as a time to recognize those living with the disease and those caring for them. For every person that lives with the disease there are several more that care for them, whether they are family members, social workers, or health care staff. In addition to honoring the living and their caregivers it also serves as a time to remember those that have lost the battle.
Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness Month can be done in several ways. Promotional t-shirts and caps can be purchased to be worn at walks. Since Alzheimer’s is usually associated with the color white, it’s not uncommon for white awareness bracelets to be worn in remembrance of those who have been lost. The most common purchasers of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month products are people that are directly involved in the cause, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Choosing to buy promotional awareness bracelets or t-shirts is an excellent way for businesses to align themselves with this worthwhile cause. Stores can create a “Gift with Purchase” program. For example, if a customer spends $50, they receive an Alzheimer’s Awareness t-shirt. Awareness bracelets are still extremely popular, so they can be offered to customers by keeping them available at the register. Try selling them for two dollars, and donate $1 to an Alzheimer’s foundation. Not only will you be raising money for a worthy cause, you will be showing your customers that your business cares about important issues.
Sarah Shepherd is a e-marketing specialist for Motivators, Inc., a Long Island based promotional products distributor. The company’s website, Motivators Promotional Products boasts over 30,000 e-commerce enabled promotional products and features an Alzheimer’s Awareness section.
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