JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Alzheimer’s is one of the leading causes of death for seniors and affects more than 6 million people throughout the country.
One local woman, Melissa Dorsch, is taking on one of the world’s hardest competitions to help fight this disease as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
“In 19 days, I’ll be doing an ironman triathlon in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Basically, an ironman is a triathlon and it’s a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a 26.2 marathon run,” Dorsch said.
This 26-year-old isn’t competing for bragging rights.
She’s undertaking this challenge in honor of her U.S. Navy veteran grandfathers, who both passed away battling dementia, and all the other families impacted by this disease.
“Losing two grandparents to this disease was very impactful. It was very painful for my whole family,” said Dorsch. “This needs a bigger purpose. So, I decided to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.”
Dorsch has been training on average 15 to 20 hours for the past two years to get ready for the competition and while crossing that finish line will be a major feat, she says helping families who are battling Alzheimer’s is the greatest reward.
“To be able to do this and raise this money and you know give back and give to people who didn’t know about this foundation, or they just found that their grandparent, mother, or their father, or their spouse got diagnosed with this disease, it means a lot because I don’t want anyone else to have to suffer through it like some people are suffering right now,” said Dorsch.
Dorsch says families should stay encouraged if they are enduring this battle at this time.
“I would say there’s help out there. There’s this great foundation, there’s other foundations like it. There are people that will support you and help you and give you the tools that you need,” said Dorsch.
The title of Dorsch’s fundraiser is “Ironman” for her Ironmen, her two grandfathers Larry Keith Crawford and Jon Eric Dorsch Sr.
To donate, go to this link directly.