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The Shank Family - “WALK FOR DAD” Team was the Overall Team and Family/Community Team winner for 2004 raising in excess of $4700. To the right is Tom Shank who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago.The Memory Walk is the Alzheimer Association's national signature event. The Alzheimer's Association of Greater Indiana held this year's Memory Walk in Fort Wayne on September 11 at Foster Park.

This year there were over 550 walkers at Foster Park that helped to make a difference in the lives of thousands touched by Alzheimer's disease. The overall goal, which was exceeded, was over $50,000. There were 35 teams that participated. The Shank Family – "Walk for Dad" Team (Laura Storie-Team Captain) was the Overall Team and Family/Community Team winner for 2004. They raised in excess of $4700. Healthcare Team winner: St. Anne Home; Corporate Team winner: Fort Wayne Neurological Center; and the Individual Walker that won was Samantha Eckrich.

Samantha Eckrich is a St. Charles sixth grader. On the weekends Sam took to fundraising. Her grandfather Tom Shank has Alzheimers. He was diagnosed with the disease five years ago. Sam set out to raise $1000 to help find a cure. She collected money by going door-to-door and posting it in the halls at her school, with people giving her anything from $1 to $1000. In the end she turned in $1500. On Saturday, Sam and her family team of 50 others walked around Foster Park to help bring awareness of the disease her grandfather lives with everyday. Each year, the Walk takes place in over 450 communities nationwide. Participating in the Memory Walk helps the Alzheimer's Association in its efforts to create a world without Alzheimer's disease.

The purpose of the Memory Walk is to increase awareness of Alzheimer's disease, raise funds for local programs and services and also to support research. Many programs are offered to caregivers, professionals and individuals with Alzheimer's disease in Fort Wayne and the surrounding nine-county area.

Alzheimer's disease affects more than 4.5 million Americans of every race, gender and culture. If a cure is not found, up to 16 million Americans will have the disease within the next 50 years. By 2025, a 30 percent increase of individuals with Alzheimer's disease is expected in Indiana.

For more information contact the Alzheimer's Association at (260) 420-5547 or visit: www.alzindiana.org.


Hi, my name is Samantha Eckrich. I raised money for my Grandpa, Tom Shank's nasty disease. The disease that he has is called Alzheimer's. This is a terrible disease. Alzheimer's slowly takes away your mind. My grandpa has had this disease for over three years. As he slowly loses his mind he does not know my name as well as my Moms or anyone else's.

The Shank side of my family participates in a walk called the Memory Walk. We walk around Foster Park. This is the second time our family has done this walk. We collected $1200 as a team last year and came in second place. My goal was to raise $1000 by myself, and I raised over $1500 dollars. The money that is collected goes to find a cure for this nasty disease. I wish more people would donate money so they can find a cure for Alzheimer's.
I would like to thank everyone for all their support.

Samantha Eckrich

The Waynedale News Staff
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