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Walking with a purpose to cure





Saturday was the second time Melvin Pfannenstiel participated in the local Walk to end Alzheimer's.

Last year, he did it just after he moved his wife, Cora Lee, into a long-term care facility.

"She always was pretty active," Pfannenstiel said of his wife, who worked as a traveling nurse for High Plains Mental Health Center for 33 years.

Pfannenstiel's brother, Marvin, also was at the walk, which started at Gross Memorial Coliseum. His wife also is in a long-term care facility with the disease.

The purpose of the walk was to raise money and awareness, said Jan Evans, outreach coordinator for 68 counties in the western part of the state for Alzheimer's Association.

"The money raised for this walk will go for research, and it will also go to have presentations, in-service at the facilities, and help the care-givers by offering seminars and classes for them to better cope," Evans said.

"When we get people together in Hays, Kan., they will then realize the support that our Alzheimer's Association can give to them," Evans said. "They can also get education for what Hays, Kan., support groups are available."

Doug Folland was at Saturday's walk with his wife, Dianna, who has had the disease since 2008.

"It's a learning experience. You don't realize you do as much as you do," he said of the last five years. "It gets hard, and then it gets harder.

"I have good support, good resources. You learn what works, what doesn't."

Folland was at the walk for the first time for his daughter, Jenny Dixon, who has organized a team in recent years to raise money for the fundraiser.

The first Alzheimer's walk in Hays was in 2002; it's one of the main fundraisers. Josh Clinkscales, the outreach and education coordinator for Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, has been one of the organizers of the event for the last two years.

"Our practice focuses primarily on long-term care planning for the elderly," Clinkscales said. "For me, personally, I want to be part of the movement to get this cured."

There were approximately 100 walkers at Saturday's event, which raised $8,200.