NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — A local teenager walked in her fifth Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday to raise funds and awareness for the disease that’s affected two of her close family members.
13-year-old Gabbie Young’s grandmother died from Alzheimer’s Disease — and her father was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s several years ago.
“When you’re seven and you hear something’s wrong with your dad, well I’m not just going to let that happen,” Gabbie said. “I’m going to do something.”
So she’s been raising money to fund Alzheimer’s research.
“If he’s going to be fighting this every day, then I’m going to fight too,” she said.
Gabbie’s mom, Val, remembers the moment Gabbie’s fight started.
“We were listening to the radio, and Miss Gabbie, she was seven I believe,” Val Young recalled. “She said, ‘Look they have a walk! A walk for Alzheimer’s! We should do that for daddy.'”
At seven, you might imagine Gabbie had plenty of questions about the complicated disease, but her reaction to the answers was precocious.
“She had asked me, ‘Mom, why can’t they make daddy better?’ Val Young remembered. “And I said, ‘Well, it’s because they don’t have the medicine for it. They don’t have a cure.’ ‘Well, why don’t they have a cure,’ she says. I said, ‘Well, because they need more money. It takes a lot of money to pay the scientists to find the cure.’ She says, ‘Well I can make money.’
So the Youngs started putting on lemonade stands, yard sales, and participating in the yearly Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“It’s affecting our family personally, and we don’t want to see more people go through what we had to see at such a young age,” Taylor Morgan-Young, Gabbie’s older sister, said.
This year, the Youngs had a fundraising goal of $1,000 for this walk — and they’re now almost to $2,000. Since they started raising money five years ago, the Youngs have brought in more than $12,000 for Alzheimer’s research.