Seal Avenue Paints it Purple for Alzheimer’s

According to Alzheimer’s Mississippi, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
One of them lives on Seal Avenue in Biloxi and the community has decided to take spreading awareness into their own hands by painting the street purple today for World Alzheimer’s Awareness Day, but as News 25’s Kristen Durand reports this tight knit community shows their support year round.
Nanette Burke has spent many days visiting with neighbors on the front porch of her Seal Avenue home since she and her husband Dennis moved here six years ago. Among them were Lisa and Gary Michiels. It wasn’t long after their move here that Gary started showing the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s. “We didn’t want to recognize it as that. Oh, maybe he forgot that or maybe you just told that story a little while ago, you know that kind of thing,” said Burke.
As the disease continued to progress, so did the community’s awareness that it takes a village to get through the debilitating disease. “His journey with Alzheimer’s and Lisa’s as a caregiver have become ours because we love them so much,” said Burke.
Which is why they’ve taken to painting the street purple in honor of World Alzheimer’s Day with hopes of spreading awareness of a situation that not only affects their friend Gary, but the other 52,000 Mississippians living with Alzheimer’s.
This is something Nanette Burke says Lisa and Gary made their mission when they first found out about Gary’s diagnosis. The couple would often spread the word by speaking at different schools and events, even making a stop at our WXXV set a few years ago. “From the moment that couple found out that Gary had Alzheimer’s, Gary was very much himself and he said “this disease and my experience with it cannot be wasted,’” said Burke.
And wasted it isn’t, as the resident on Seal Avenue and Alzheimer’s Mississippi continue spreading awareness and opening doors to new research, hoping for a cure. “You just can’t be afraid. We have to, we have to embrace a person with Alzheimer’s because it’s hard for us, but it is hell for them,” said Burke.

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