‘Come Walk with Me’ and help CurePSP

Chris Curle
Special to the Eagle
A past fundraising walk for degenerative brain diseases at Marco Island’s Mackle Park attracted hundreds of supporters.

It’s more than a casual walk around the lake in Marco Island’s Mackle Park. It’s literally a step-by-step way for us to make more people aware of deadly neurological brain diseases and their indiscriminate attacks on the minds and bodies of our loved ones.

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Come walk with me to remember those we’ve lost and to recognize those struggling in the present, including caregivers, families, friends, supporters and the medical experts who are on the front lines of the battle.

Neuro-degenerative diseases have daunting names such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

Sally Temple PhD is a dementia researcher, exploring “ways to stop the disease progression, or to prevent it from ever starting.”

These sinister sounding names are fitting. PSP and its family of diseases are harrowing, especially because they all have one inevitable outcome – mental and physical decline and death. This progressive brain disease set has no known cause or cure.  It affects brain cells that control balance, walking, coordination, eye movement, speech, swallowing and thinking.

The SW Florida CurePSP Support Group invites the public to the 19th Annual Awareness and Memorial Walk, Saturday, March 19, 2022, at Mackle Park, Marco Island. The wheelchair friendly walk starts at 10:30am and ends at 1:30 p.m. Registration is $25 for adults, $10 for students and includes a tShirt and lunch.

The event is to remember those who have died from brain diseases, to support those suffering now, to raise awareness, to educate the public and to raise money to help find a cure.

Cindy MacDonald, the Walk Coordinator, lost her mother to PSP. She says she is proud of the success of the walks and is grateful for the public support. “We have people coming from across the US and even some from other countries. Everyone has fun on the walks.”

The subject is serious, but the annual walk is all fun and games and food, according to MacDonald. “We have a buffet lunch, entertainment, a silent auction, chances to win great prizes and, of course, the approximately half-mile walk around the Mackle Park lake.”

A special guest at the event will be Sally Temple, PhD, the Scientific Director of the Neural Stem Cell Institute in Rensselaer NY. The non-profit center researches neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Raising money is crucial because progress in treating one form of dementia means progress for the whole spectrum of neurological brain diseases.

“For example,” Dr. Temple explains, “both PSP and Alzheimer’s involve degeneration of brain cells, especially in the part of the brain responsible for thought and reasoning. PSP typically affects patients in the prime of life, while Alzheimer’s affects mainly the elderly.

“But, because of common features, including the brain areas affected, the abnormal build-up of certain molecules and the changes that occur in brain cells during the disease process, we can envision therapies that will be beneficial across multiple diseases.”

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The CurePSP walk and other fundraising efforts support Dr. Temple’s dementia research and her goal, “to find ways to stop the disease progression, or to prevent it from ever starting.”

So, come walk with me! I will be walking in memory of my late husband, Don Farmer, who died of PSP and Alzheimer’s Disease last March.

For more information and to register Contact Cindy MacDonald at 239-353-3960, cmac5371@aol.com or visit www.psp.org/event/19marcoislandwalk/

If you go

The 19th Annual CurePSP Awareness and Memorial Walk           

  • 10:30 a.m., March 19
  • Mackle Park, 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island
  • Information: Cindy MacDonald at 239-353-3960, cmac5371@aol.com or visit psp.org/event/19marcoislandwalk/