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Fort Worth Man Runs World's Toughest Race to Honor Dad with Dementia

Fort Worth Man Runs World's Toughest Race to Honor Dad with Dementia
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June 26, 2019
Media Line: 713.314.1313
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FORT WORTH, TEXAS, JUNE 2019 – This summer, one Texas man will take on the world’s toughest race in honor of his father. The Badwater UltraMarathon, a 135 mile non-stop run across Death Valley, CA is billed as the "World's Toughest Foot Race" because of the extreme distance and the extreme heat, near 130 degrees. The start line at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ below sea level and the finish at Whitney Portal is the highest point in the contiguous United States at 8,300’. The Badwater 135 mile course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600 feet of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100 feet of cumulative descent.

“Although the race is incredibly difficult, it pales in comparison to the daily struggle of those that suffer from Alzheimer's and other dementias, and the family and friends that love and care for them,” says Brian Hill of Fort Worth, TX. “I am no stranger to Alzheimer's, when I was in high school, my grandmother was diagnosed with the disease and wandered away from the home she was living and was killed. Currently, my dad has dementia and is in a reminiscence facility, and I've watched as his memory has slowly started to fail, and his ability to complete daily functions has become more of a challenge.” Brian's father resides in a senior living community that provides a "reminiscence neighborhood" specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of memory loss. 

On June 21, 2019 – and throughout the summer – advocates across the world participate in The Longest Day® to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through an activity of their choice. The event coincides with Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month® in June and throughout the summer months, individuals use their creativity and passion to raise funds and awareness to advance Alzheimer’s Association® care, support and research programs.

In honor of The Longest Day, participants choose an activity – biking, running, playing bridge, swimming, knitting and more – to shine a light on the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and the more than 16 million family members and friends providing care and support. In Texas alone, there are more than 390,000 people living with Alzheimer’s and more than 1.4 million family members and friends caring for them.

“My dad, Dr. John P. Hill, has been a huge fan of my running and has been to many of my races over the last 10+ years,” says Hill. “I'm running in his honor, and in memory of my grandmother, Claudia Hill, whose life was tragically cut way too short. I'm also dedicating my race to any other friends of family that have been affected by Alzheimer's and other dementias.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Alzheimer’s disease is the only one of the top 10 causes of death in the US that has no cure, no prevention and no way to slow the progression of the disease. By 2025 — just six years from now — the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia is estimated to reach 7.1 million — an increase of 27 percent from the 5.6 million age 65 and older affected in 2019. Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple from 5.6 million to 13.8 million by 2050.

“These are heartbreaking statistics, but this is the reality for Americans living with Alzheimer's and their family and friends that take care of them,” says Hill. “I'm using my race across the desert to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. I’ll be will wearing my Running ALZ Over shirt during the race, I hope everyone out there will join me in the fight to End Alzheimer’s.”

Key facts about Alzheimer’s include:
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
  • More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease.
  • More than 16 million family and friends provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's or other dementias in the United States.
  • Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
  • In 2018, friends and family of those with Alzheimer’s provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued at $234 billion.
  • In 2019, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the United States an estimated $290 billion. This number is expected to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2050.
To learn more about Brian’s race against Alzheimer’s, visit:
Visit http://bit.ly/non-stop-race-endalz or alz.org/thelongestday for more information and to support his fund raising efforts.

Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit www.alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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