An organization dedicated to eliminating Alzheimer's disease had a kickoff ceremony on Wednesday for an event that will be held later this year. 

The Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association held a kickoff breakfast Wednesday for its 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's, which will take place Sept. 9 at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. The breakfast took place in the Reynolds Room at UAFS. 

After guests were invited to partake in a variety of different foods, including scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and sausage, Susan Neyman, the executive director of the Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, talked about the severity of Alzheimer's disease. 

"Even if you have had a personal connection to Alzheimer's disease, and even if you know firsthand how devastating the impact is on a family, you might not really be aware of the epidemic status of Alzheimer's disease in this country. So let's talk about the urgent need to end a global epidemic of Alzheimer's disease," Neyman said. 

Neyman presented a YouTube video that conveyed statistics pertaining to Alzheimer's disease. The video, which was titled "Alzheimer's Association 2017 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures," stated more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, a number that could rise as high as 16 million by the year 2050. It also stated Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, it kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined, and someone in the United States develops the disease every 66 seconds. 

Neyman said the mission of the Alzheimer's Association has three components. 

"... First of all, it's to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research until we find a cure," Neyman said. "But until we find a cure, this involves the second part. That's to provide an enhanced care and support for everyone who is affected with the disease right here in our local communities. And finally, the third part is to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health because our vision is a world without Alzheimer's."

The Walk to End Alzheimer's, Neyman said, is the signature event of the Alzheimer's Association, playing a significant role in helping the organization advance its mission. 

"We all need to be involved with the Alzheimer's Association so that we can continue to offer programs and services for those who are facing Alzheimer's disease," Neyman said. "In addition to helping enhance Alzheimer's Association care and support programs, the funds that you raise through the Walk to End Alzheimer's help advance Alzheimer's disease research because that's really the key to ending the disease." 

Neyman said the Alzheimer's Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research in the world. 

UAFS Chancellor Paul Beran, who, with his wife, Janice Beran, is the honorary chairperson for the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, said both he and his wife have had their families affected by Alzheimer's disease and dementia. 

"It's very real for us, and so it really wasn't much to talk me into doing this just because I think it's an important thing to be aware of, to support people in, to do the research in, to try to come to a conclusion and figure out how we might abate this ..." Beran said. 

Neyman told attendees how they can get involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer's. 

"You can start a team, you can donate, or you can become a sponsor, or all three," Neyman said. "All three is fine also. By sponsoring the Walk to End Alzheimer's, you can change the course of Alzheimer's disease and fight for the millions of people who are facing this."