Over 120,000 Washington residents currently live with Alzheimer’s Disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
For Colleen Hoss, the disease means more to her than a statistic. Hoss’ grandmother, mother and two aunts died of dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease, a form of dementia, interferes with daily life by shutting down a person’s memory and behavior.
About three years ago, Hoss, of Battle Ground, saw a Facebook post from the Alzheimer’s Association about The Longest Day, an event hosted on June 20 that encourages people to fundraise to help fund research.
Hoss said she held an ice cream social in her home, not expecting much to come from it. To her surprise, about 40 people attended and she raised over $5,000.
“I held an ice cream social because of my mother. When she was in a care facility she loved the ice cream socials that they would have periodically,” she said.
The next year, COVID-19 halted in-person fundraising, so Hoss reached out to Menchie’s in Battle Ground, a frozen yogurt franchise, to create a partnership. The owners agreed to donate 20 percent of each purchase made on the ‘Longest Day.’ The fundraiser also raised over $5,000.
Menchie’s and Hoss worked together this year as well, with the restaurant donating 20 percent of each purchase to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Hoss is also hosting a community yard sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 18 and 19 in the Parkway Terrace neighborhood. She said about eight houses will have items for sale.
“I’m really working for this because I don’t want neither my son nor his daughter to have to go through Alzheimer’s,” Hoss said.
For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment, Aducanumab, for Alzheimer’s on June 7.
The treatment not only addresses symptoms caused by the debilitating disease but slows it all together, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The drug targets amyloid in the brain, the substance related to Alzheimer’s.
The decision to approve the therapy didn’t come without opposition. Alzheimer’s experts and FDA advisory committee members expressed concern about not having enough evidence proving its efficacy, according to the New York Times.
A new clinical trial will occur, however, the FDA is not required to repeal its approval if the phase four trial fails, states the Times.
“It doesn’t matter where you are on the IQ scale. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your life. It just starts to kick your life away from you,” Hoss said. “We have to find a cure.”