(Video Courtesy of Alzheimer's New Jersey)

The non-profit Alzheimer's New Jersey is holding the first of their annual Walk's to Fight Alzheimer's coming up in Point Pleasant Beach.

Their mission is to lend support, aid and provide important information to patients and caregivers of those with the disease.

They also raise awareness and funds to support local programs helping those affected by all forms of dementia.

"We're continuing to expand our ability to reach out to people in New Jersey who are experiencing Alzheimer's Disease and unfortunately that number continues to rise," CEO and President of Alzheimer's New Jersey, Ken Zaentz, said. "There are about 180,000 people in New Jersey diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and if you include their caregivers, we're talking about over 600,000 people in our state."

One of the most impacted areas is here in Ocean County which has one of the largest senior citizen populations in the state of New Jersey.

Zaentz says while research into the disease has advanced, there's still so much work that needs to be done.

"Unfortunately we still don't have the answers that we're seeking," Zaentz said. "Everyday there's something new that comes out about the underlying biology of the disease. The primary theory is that the Amyloid plaques that form and stick together and deposit in the brain are the culprit but up to this point we've been unable to clear those plaques from the brain, we've been unable to stop these plaques from sticking together and really doing anything that significantly reduces the symptoms."

They've made it their mission to help those affected by Alzheimer's in New Jersey.

"While we still support research, we've chosen to concentrate the majority of our resources on assisting caregivers with issues involving education, the loss of connectivity both socially and in other aspects and so support groups come into play, and our respite care and wellness program which provides caregivers with education about the importance of taking care of themselves," Zaentz said. "We know how stressful this disease can be, both financially and emotionally, for caregivers. Anecdotally we know that caregivers suffer from a great deal of stress-related illnesses themselves."

Zaentz wants those suffering from the disease and their caregivers to know that they're here for you, so you don't have to find help alone.

"I think it's important for people to know, especially families who are finding themselves impacted by this disease, that as difficult as it is and we know it's difficult, that they don't have to do it alone," Zaentz said. "There are resources out there and we can serve as the source for those resources."

They've added in a walk from last year where the total fundraising goal was $840,000.00, but for the 2018 series, they're looking to raise $915,000.00 for programs related to helping patients and caregivers.

"This is a disease that unfortunately impacts everyone from the grandchildren to the adult children to the person with the disease and the person that's closest to them as a caregiver," Zaentz said.

The first of five walks starts at 8:30 am on Saturday the 22nd in Point Pleasant Beach with registration followed by a kickoff rally at 9:30 am and the 2.5-mile walk at 10 am.

You'll also have time to speak with members of Alzheimer's New Jersey to seek out help or services or just learn more about what they do.

To sign-up ahead of time for the race, donate or volunteer, head over to their website or call 973-586-4300 or email walk@alznj.org.

Here are the walks Alzheimer's New Jersey will be holding this fall:

  • Saturday, September 22 – Southern Regional Walk, Arnold & Baltimore Aves, Point Pleasant Beach.
  • Sunday, September 30 – Skylands Regional Walk, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown.
  • Sunday, October 7 – Central Regional Walk, Educational Testing Service, Princeton.
  • Saturday, October 13 – Liberty State Park Regional Walk, Liberty State Park, Jersey City.
  • Sunday, October 28 – Northern Regional Walk, Bergen Community College, Paramus.

Since 1985, Alzheimer’s New Jersey (formerly known as Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey Chapter), has provided care and support for New Jersey families and has helped advance research for a cure.

Alzheimer’s New Jersey is a nonprofit organization not affiliated with a national charity whose mission is to provide support, assistance and information to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their caregivers in New Jersey.

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