Today, over two hundred fifty local residents united in a movement to help raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care and research. Held at Washington Park, located at Six on the Lake in Michigan City, it is one of 600 locations where Alzheimer’s walks are held nationwide each year.
Last year, the walk raised nearly $43,000 in Michigan City alone. Thus far this year, participants in the walk have raised about $35,000, which goes toward care, support, and research efforts to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Today, walk participants joined together in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, and displayed their commitment and willingness to help find a cure. Although the walk was free, participants were encouraged to raise money for the cause. The Alzheimer’s Association’s vision is a world without Alzheimer’s, and through donation, they are one step closer to advanced research and will have better support and understanding of those with the disease.
Participants also joined in a tribute ceremony that honored those affected by Alzheimer’s. Leaders from each team were welcomed on the stage to discuss their connection to the disease and to share their stories of what the walk means to them.
Before the walk, partakers in the event received a Promise Garden flower. The flowers represent the participants’ connection to the disease. Blue represents someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, purple is given to those who have lost a loved one to the disease, yellow is for those who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and orange is for everyone who supports the cause of the Alzheimer’s Association and share the same vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.
Although the walk exemplifies one’s support of the cause, their actions also change the level of Alzheimer’s awareness in the community. By learning more about the disease, it is easier to accommodate to the needs of those suffering.
With well over ten teams in total, participant Holly Healey is the leader of one of the largest ones.
“My dad just passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in April, so this walk means the world to me,” Healey said. “I am part of Team Tommy, which consists of 50 members.”
Although there were several participants, there were several volunteers painting faces, passing T-shirts out and also giving flowers to others.
Volunteer Evan Little spent most of his day helping others by distributing flowers and folding T-shirts.
“I like volunteering and helping out, and today was a great opportunity for me to do that,” Little said.
This is Little’s first year volunteering at the Walk to end Alzheimer’s and he plans on volunteering next year.
Catherine Pgan is only one member of Team Mary Louise. Her team consisted of fifteen family members altogether in support of the cause.
“We raise the money in hopes of finding a cure. We are hoping for advancement in treatment or some kind of medical breakthrough that could help,” Pgan said.
Pgan and her family walked in honor of her sister who is currently suffering from Alzheimer’s. This is her second year participating in the Walk to end Alzheimer’s.
Like several others, Katie Slater, Community Relationship Specialist for the Alzheimer’s Association, has a close connection with the disease as well.
“My grandpa has had Alzheimer’s disease for about five years now. Alzheimer’s needs to come to the forefront of everybody’s attention because there is still no cure. We all need to get together and do so much more to support Alzheimer’s research. Alzheimer’s disease is really devastating, and so many people don’t know about it,” Slater said.
Slater is finishing her Master’s in gerontology, which is the study of social, psychological and biological aspects of aging.
Leah Shattuck, Communications Director for the Alzheimer’s Association was pleased with the turnout of today’s event. She has been the Communications Director for about one year and a half and is excited to continue to spread awareness of the cause.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in our country. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. In the United States, there are more than 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. Currently, there are more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.
To help support the cause, visit www.alz.org for more information.
The next local Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place in September or October of 2015.