Community members come together to fight Alzheimer’s disease

Posted By: Lauren Fabrizi

As the band played, nearly 300 community members filled the Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln Saturday night for the Alzheimer’s Association annual gala.

Underneath Mardi Gras-themed masks and beads were people hoping a cure for the disease will be found.

It’s something Joan Johnson fights for everyday. Her husband and long-time UNL math professor, Jerry, was diagnosed two years ago.

“There’s good days and there’s bad days, it’s a roller coaster ride,” Johnson said.

Lynda Vaughn, a local hospice worker, was also at the gala. Her friend’s sister lives with the disease.

“It’s watching the decline of a family member, and not really sure what’s happening to them,” Vaughn said. “A long road we still have to go.”

With the help of community, the Alzheimer’s Association is making a dent on the funds needed for research. Organizers hope to raise $85,000 through the gala’s silent auction.

“The only way we’re going to make a difference for our children and their children is to fund research to find a cure,” Mark Feit of the association’s Nebraska chapter said.

A cure Johnson’s confident doctors will find not only for her husband, but for the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease.

“I’m not walking this path alone,” she said. “I’m his wife, I’m his buddy. I’d do anything, anything to make this better for him.”

Money raised will go toward research and programs for those living with the disease.