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Honoring mother: Yard sale benefits Alzheimer’s Association

Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Today, it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country.

Statistics such as those are what led Milisa Mote and others to join the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s disease, forming the team Frances’s Fighters in October 2017. In honor of her mother, Frances Miller, who passed away in January 2017 from the disease, Mote along with her sisters, Leah Foster and Lori Woods, wanted to find a way to help others in this struggle.

“After mama died, we wanted to find a way to help other people with this disease and to honor her,” Mote said. “Mama spent her life giving to other people, so we wanted to continue the legacy.”

Miller was an active member of the community. She worked as a kindergarten teacher for 17 years, until moving to Greenville Junior High School to start a school suspension program.

“She loved working with the kids and sometimes brought them home with her to spend the weekend to allow their parents to take a trip,” Mote said as she recalled her mother’s devotion to schoolchildren.

Miller was also a member of Southside Baptist Church for 60 years where she taught Sunday school a majority of that time.

“Mama’s personality filled up the room anywhere she went,” Mote said.

In 2015, Miller was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Mote emphasized the importance of an early diagnosis of the disease.

“Mother was able to hide her disease for a long time,” she said. “Over the years, we noticed small changes in her personality. That’s the nature of Alzheimer’s – it creeps up on you. By the time you realize it, there is really nothing that can be done.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, early and accurate diagnosis could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical and care costs each year. In an effort to raise awareness and funds, Mote along with her team of 17 members raised more than $1,500 last year to aide in research and education.

Mote added that she’s looking forward to this year’s yard sale.

“This year our team hopes to raise even more,” she said. “The money donated goes toward funding research.”

All funds raised go directly to the Alzheimer’s Association, funding research and educating caregivers about the disease.

It is estimated that in 2018, the disease and other dementias will cost the nation $277 billion. The team this year is beginning fundraising efforts early.

“Fundraising kicks off this year with a huge yard sale in Greenville,” Mote concluded. “We encourage people to stop by and donate to our team. I think Mama would be proud!”

The yard sale will be held at 105 Stoneroad Dr. It will be held from noon until 6 p.m. on May 4 and continue May 5 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.