Oxford student dedicated to Alzheimer’s awareness

Published 11:09 am Monday, July 10, 2017

It is typical of most high school aged boys to waste away their summer days by playing video games, attending summer camps, and getting a job flipping burgers or mowing lawns. However, one student has different plans for this summer.

Jack Ligon, an Oxford High School student, has taken a different approach to summer then a typical teenager. He’s looking to bring awareness to one of the most devastating diseases in America: Alzheimer’s disease.

“I am 15 years old and started volunteering at The Blake retirement home in the fall of my sophomore year in 2016,” writes Ligon. “I was placed in the memory care unit with the Alzheimer’s patients.

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“It was a little scary at first but after a few visits I became very comfortable. I play memory games, listen to music and talk to patients about the past. The interesting part is that a lot of the patients can recall some of their past and the music helps jog their memories.”

With the approval of the Oxford Parks Commission, Ligon has set up a tennis mixed doubles tournament fundraiser that will benefit Alzheimer’s research.

An avid tennis player, Ligon has found a way to channel both of his passion into one project.

“I love playing tennis and I am on the Oxford High School tennis team and I have a passion for the elderly and tennis so I decided to do something with both that would have an impact,” Ligon said.

All ages and levels of skill are welcome and encouraged to attend.

In January of 2017, Ligon also created an organization at Oxford High called Students for Alzheimer’s.

“I schedule and arrange for students to spend time usually an hour on Sundays with the patients “ explains Ligon. “I go with all the students to help them. The Blake has a lot of helpful resources for us to use. We play Jeopardy and wheel of fortune and sometimes-just talk.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, alz.org, ‘Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia’ and it accounts for ‘60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.’ There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s yet, but there are treatments for early symptoms that can slow down the process of Alzheimer’s.

Ligon’s tournament is set for Aug. 5 at the John Leslie Tennis Courts. It costs $20 a person. Registration can be completed at the office of Dr. Ligon at 1121 Mimosa Drive near the hospital.