Visitors to the annual summer festival in Lee’s Summit, Mo., on June 3 and 4 were treated to a flash mob dance performance by more than 50 staff and members of the local Jazzercise fitness center. The flash mobs were to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease in a fun manner.
The flash mob dance performances were coordinated by a former Great Bend resident, Jan Frees Hildebrand. Jan is the primary caregiver for her mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. A seemingly hereditary disease on the female side of Jan’s family, she is devoted to raising awareness and funds for research. Jan grew up in Great Bend and her father owned the apothecary shop downtown.
Jan says, “My mother represents all mothers, aunts, grandmothers, fathers and other family members with Alzheimer’s. I am the “leading lady” in this next generation of our family to face the future of this disease!”
Every sixty-nine seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease. Women constitute about two thirds of those who suffer from the disease and who are primary caregivers. This devastating disease is the nation’s fifth-leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. The Lee’s Summit Jazzercise team hosted an Alzheimer’s Association booth during Lee’s Summit Downtown Days staffed by Jazzercise instructors, members and friends. Information on Alzheimer’s was made available as well as fundraising to promote awareness. Participants of the flash mob each personally contributed $15 to participate in the event. All funds collected directly support the Alzheimer’s Association – Heart of America Chapter Walk to END Alzheimer’s, the signature fundraiser event held this fall. The Lee’s Summit Jazzercise Team “Helen Mae Hope,” including corporate sponsors, has raised more than $2,700 to date for this effort.
The flash mob activities were coordinated with the organizers of Lee’s Summit Downtown Days. The performances were so popular that the group has been invited to perform again next year and also at Oktoberfest in Lee’s Summit in the fall.
Jan is proud of her Great Bend roots and still has family in the area. While she now calls the suburbs of Kansas City her official home, she does not forget the memories of growing up in the Great Bend and Ellinwood areas. She is devoted to raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s, so that one day those afflicted with the disease won’t forget their precious memories as well.
For more information, the Jazzercise team web site is www.walktoendalz-kc.kintera.org/helenmaehope. Donate today to support them for their dedication in raising Alzheimer’s awareness and honor your loved one.