The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting residents to join the fight against Alzheimer’s by participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Oct. 3.
This year, instead of hosting a large gathering, the association is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups on sidewalks, tracks and trails throughout their local neighborhoods.
“This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere,” said Wendy Vizek, vice president, constituent events at the Alzheimer’s Association. “The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the need to walk. This year, more than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia. With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”
On walk day, a 9 a.m. opening ceremony will feature local speakers and a presentation of Promise Flowers to honor the personal reasons participants join together to fight Alzheimer’s and all other dementia, all delivered to participants’ smartphones, tablets and computers.
Also, new features are being added to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app. Participants can track their steps and distance, follow a virtual walk path, manage their Facebook fundraisers and access information and resources from the association and walk sponsors to help those affected by the disease.
A new audio track is available to encourage participants along the way and to congratulate them upon completion of their walk.
For Cindy Flowers, committee chair for the Flagler and St. Johns Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the decision to participate was sparked by personal experience.
“As a certified geriatric care manager, I work with many clients with Alzheimer’s, so staying involved as a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association allows me to stay abreast of the many support groups and resources they provide for those clients and their family members,” she said.
“I also have a personal connection to Alzheimer’s because my grandmother had the disease,” she added. “Her wish was to live in her home until the end of her life, but because of her Alzheimer’s, we had to move her to an assisted living facility, which broke my heart. My hope is that my involvement with raising awareness and funds to end Alzheimer’s will keep others from experiencing the devastating results of the disease and the hardship it has on family members and caregivers.”
According to walk director Amanda Harris, stories like Flowers’ are common among participants who have witnessed its impacts firsthand. In Florida, more than 580,000 people are battling the disease and an additional 1.1 million family members and friends are caring for them. With those numbers expected to increase over the next five years, it is imperative, Harris said, that Walk to End Alzheimer’s goes forward.
“Alzheimer’s is not taking a hiatus during COVID-19 and neither are we,” she said.
To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s walk, go to www.alz.org/walk.