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The Lake News Online
  • Action against Alzheimer's

  • Many have heard of Hellen Cook, the woman who wandered away from her family's vacation home in Warsaw in Benton County. Family and friends searched for about a month to find Hellen. When a highly trained team came in to help, her body was found within hours.
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  • Many have heard of Hellen Cook, the woman who wandered away from her family's vacation home in Warsaw in Benton County. Family and friends searched for about a month to find Hellen. When a highly trained team came in to help, her body was found within hours.
    Hellen Cook had Alzheimer's Disease. Her family is now spreading Hellen's story in hopes to help other families like theirs.
    At the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Camdenton on Saturday, Howard Cook along with his son, Mike and Mike's wife Teresa, told the crowd about his wife and the tragedy.
    The Cooks attend many events like this one to spread the word and hopefully get enough support for Hellen's Law.
    "We are trying to encourage Missouri to get a procedure that law enforcement agencies follow when a person goes missing," Howard Cook said.
    The procedure would include a checklist of different alerts, different kinds of people and the resources available.
    Howard believes that if the task force that found Hellen's body would have been called in sooner, they would have found her sooner — and possibly still alive.
    "If they would have been contacted early on, there would have been a different outcome," he said. "This is just another tool for the sheriff to put in his tool box."
    More than 100 supporters were apart of the first ever walk in Camdenton. Every person walked for their own personal reasons. Many were walking for loved ones and friends who have passed away with Alzheimer's, some were walking for friends, some were caretakers and one brave woman was walking because she has Alzheimer's.
    Howard thought of his wife Hellen while he was walking. With tears in his eyes, he described her as a tiny person weighing only 100 pounds, witty, clever and extremely intelligent.
    "Even in her Alzheimer's state, she still had that wit," he recalled. "I told her everyday to never stop making me laugh."
    Howard described the disease itself as very difficult especially for family members trying to care of their loved one.
    "It's a case of the logical mind trying to figure out what the illogical mind is thinking," he said.
    He encouraged family and friends of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's to just be there for them.
    "Don't argue with them. Just try to make them feel comfortable," he recommended.
    Howard is doing what he can to raise support and awareness for Hellen's Law and hopes to take it to the legislation when they go back into session in January.
    "It's too late to help our little Hellen but we trust it will help another family," he told the crowd at Saturday's walk.
    Page 2 of 2 - Event organizers were impressed with the walk's turnout.
    "It's awesome. We are really excited about the support the Camdenton area gave the Alzheimer's Association," Chris Baker said.
    Baker estimates that more than $6,500 was raised from this event.
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