Woman walks 80 miles for her 80th birthday

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A South Mississippi woman is doing something big to celebrate her 80th birthday.

"I thought about jumping out of an airplane like President Bush did, but my kids wouldn't let me do it they said mother you may mess up those new knees you have, so I said well let me do something that's for and accomplishing something," Je'Nell Blocher said.

Blocher has had both knees and a shoulder replaced and she's making sure she puts them to good use and for a great cause.

"My husband died two years ago from Alzheimer's," Blocher said.

She was not only his wife but also his caregiver. "It's hard for me to talk about because he was a brilliant man and to see that mind go," Blocher said. "I take him for a drive every afternoon, and we came home one day and he said you are a very good driver would you like to come in and have a drink with me and my wife, that tears you up."

"Things like that you have to learn you laugh or cry and you have to choose to laugh, for your own sanity."

She hopes her walk will help aid in finding a cause and a cure for Alzheimer's Disease so others do not have to live through that.

Keith Plunkett with the Mississippi Alzheimer's Association also knows what it is like, his grandmother died from the disease.

Plunkett said, "A good friend of mine, the other day, mentioned to me after I started with the Alzheimer's Association, isn't it a wonderful thing what your grandmother did for you. I haven't stopped to think about that, but in a way she is still leading my path even now."

This weekend she led his path from just outside of Jackson to Gulfport to walk along with Bocher and her family.

Plunkett said, "The passion in her voice is obvious and when you are that passionate about something people will follow and that's why I'm here."

And it's not only passion Blocher has it is also determination.

Blocher said, "I was horsing around with my grandchildren and we all fell when I was in Pass Christian and I busted a rib. The doctor says I can still walk, but it's painful he says if you take a deep breath or cough or laugh, so don't make me laugh."

Her walk will end next Saturday on her 80th birthday and she wants everyone to come out and join her for the last two miles.

It will begin at the Gulf Oakes Townhomes Clubhouse at 10am.

Also she is collecting donations for the Alzheimer's Association you can send them to P.O. Box 854, Ocean Springs, MS, 39564.

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