Newport News Alzheimer's patient works to increase awareness of disease

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by Joe Flanagan

WVEC.com

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Updated Friday, May 4 at 6:42 AM

NEWPORT NEWS -- Father of two, Jim Garner, of Newport News was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. His wife Karen has been at his side every step of the way.

"I cry a lot.  I yell a lot. I rely on friends to listen to me and be there for me, as well as my parents," said Karen.

Jim’s family has a history of Alzheimer’s disease. He is 50 years old.

"So it's a little scary to think about what's going to happen and what's going to be put on Karen, because she's going to be responsible for everything.  She's going to have to take care of the kids, she's going to have to take care of me.  So it's just scary and a sad thing," said Garner.

Gino Colombara was with Jim and Karen at a special Alzheimer’s seminar in Washington and says they are raising awareness about the need for funding and for the early onset of Alzheimer's disease.

"Well look at it this way:  We have $500 million currently allocated for Alzheimer's research federally, and we spent this year in direct care costs $200 billion," concluded Colombara.    

The Garners will be at the Sweet Memories event this Sunday in Virginia Beach which recognizes caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease.

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