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Walking toward a cure for Alzheimer's Disease

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

It's the most common form of dementia, and right now there's not a cure for it...Alzheimer's disease.

Saturday morning, the Biloxi Town Green was covered in purple, the color worn to increase awareness for the disease, for the annual Walk to Beat Alzheimer's disease.

With flowers in hand, almost 500 participants gathered to raise money and awareness for the disease.

"The funds go to care, support and dollars for research so that one day we can hopefully find a cure," said Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association Patty Dunn.

Many walked toward that cure today through downtown Biloxi.

In the group was Gary Michiels who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's three months ago.

"I didn't believe it. I went in denial for many many months," said 68-year-old Michiels.

Now, it's a realization he and his family have had to come to terms with.

"Devastation and still very sad. It's just probably the saddest thing we've ever had to do," said Gary's wife Lisa.

Lisa said everyday is a struggle, but her husband is resilient.

"Gary is such a gentle, kind man. Such a wonderful father and human being and it's just as he continues to be," said Lisa.

Hoping to find that cure, Gary and Lisa formed a team and raised more than $10,000 to combat the disease so close to their hearts.

"Let's fix it is really the thought that comes to my mind," said Gary.

"I believe a cure is on its way," said Lisa.

The Michiels decided to make the best of the card they were dealt. So, everyone on their team wore shirts that read, "Pete and the Repeats." On the back there was a caricature of Gary and the word, "Huh?"

"If anyone knows about the disease of Alzheimer's, you know you do a lot of repeating yourself," said Lisa.

"Gary decided the best road to take with dealing with this was the road of humor, it helps to laugh."

Smiling and laughing, they walked and celebrated getting closer to that cure.

More than $50,000 was raised at this year's event.

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