Local News

February 22, 2013

Destination with purpose

Georgia man running coast to coast to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s

It’s hard to miss Jack Fussell running down the road in his neon yellow fitness shirt pushing a baby stroller he calls “Wilson.”

Fussell, a Talking Rock resident, arrived in Dalton on Thursday as a stopping point in his awareness journey from Skidaway Island in Savannah to Monterey, Calif. He is visiting Alzheimer’s Association offices, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other locations as he works to raise $250,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of his father who died in 2000.

He and Wilson hit mile 508 of 3,591 when they entered Dalton Thursday afternoon on his way down from Fort Mountain. Two women who described themselves as Fussell’s “biggest fans” were waiting for him at the Alzheimer’s Association on Morris Street when he got there. Molly Myers, a registered nurse with Peace for You In-Home Care Inc. in Dalton, and volunteer Sally Hart said they heard about Fussell’s epic journey through the Alzheimer’s Association and media coverage and wanted to meet him in person.

They promptly had him sign their purple T-shirts in support of his cause and greeted him with enthusiastic hugs and questions about his journey.

It’s a journey with an external cause — fighting Alzheimer’s — but also a very personal one.

A sedentary lifestyle

Fussell wasn’t always the type to spend his weeks traversing the American countryside on foot.

In fact, Fussell was more the type to enjoy eating a diet of whatever pleased him, being more than 100 pounds overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and, he said, being so stressed that he suffered from a bleeding ulcer that nearly killed him.

In 2000, his father died after battling prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. About nine months later, Fussell was admitted to the hospital with a bleeding ulcer and told he had just two hours to live. Then something happened that changed his life.

While he was undergoing a test that involved monitoring his heart in such a way even he could see how fast it was beating, the young nurse asked her then 50-year-old patient whether he was scared. Fussell admitted he was. She empathized.

“I would be scared, too,” he remembers her saying as she laid a hand on his arm. Then she asked jokingly if he was married and feigned disappointment when he told her he was. His rapid heart rate immediately began slowing to normal. Another person’s care and sympathy, he said, had made all the difference in the world in his stress level.

“I have always since then thought ‘I want to do that for people,’” he said.

Text Only
Local News
  • runner thompson.jpg Taking the race back

    Dean Thompson didn’t go 100 yards in his 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston without seeing people on the side of the road cheering for him.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bobby Lee Dixon mg.jpg Officials: Man jailed for driving toward officer

    A Chatsworth man who officials said accelerated a vehicle toward a law enforcement officer who was approaching on foot remains in the Murray County jail without bond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Charges undetermined following standoff (Updated 5:45 p.m.)

    Police have yet to decide whether to press criminal charges against a man they say was armed and intoxicated while barricading himself in his office at a carpet mill in downtown Dalton Tuesday evening.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security card

    A man is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security card with someone else’s Social Security number to land a job at a rug manufacturer in Dalton and for providing false information to receive workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

    April 23, 2014

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Police: Four-hour standoff ends with peaceful surrender

    A man who was armed with at least one firearm and believed to be under the influence of alcohol surrendered to police Tuesday night after barricading himself for four hours inside a carpet mill in downtown Dalton, officials said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Local wrestler ‘made everybody smile’

    Rash Renegade got his wrestling nickname after a motorcycle wreck several years ago left him with a bad case of road burn.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pinwheels in murray '14 1 mlh.jpg Awareness can prevent child abuse

    Three hundred forty-six pinwheels dotted the Murray County Courthouse lawn on Tuesday, representing 346 reported cases of child abuse in the county last year.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray library, regional system still far apart

    Murray County officials say they will announce soon if they will follow through with their plan to take the Chatsworth-Murray Library out of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fire believed to have started outside home

    Investigators are still working to learn what sparked a fire that nearly destroyed a house at 602 Top St. in Dalton on Monday.

    April 22, 2014