Everything You Need to Know About The Walk to End Alzheimer’s
By: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com
As we’ve covered previously, the world is closer than ever to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. And even though new treatments keep advancing, most are only effective and approved for the earliest stages of the disease. One of the most vital aspects of finding a cure is spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s and creating a supportive community. Beth Sulkowski with the Alzheimer’s Association joined SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast again to share the importance of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a lot of moving parts meant to raise awareness and funds such as on-demand education classes, support groups, a 24/7 helpline, and research. But the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a major way that the organization fights to change the future of Alzheimer’s. The nation-wide Walk is collectively the world’s largest event to raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, research, and support. It is held in over 600 communities and calls on community members of all ages and abilities to join the Walk. Typically, it is between one to three miles.
Beth explained that there are several fun aspects to the Walk. Before it begins, the opening ceremony is held where brightly colored pinwheel flowers that spin in the breeze and people converge to symbolize the impact of Alzheimer’s. Purple represents those who lost loved ones to the disease, yellow for caregivers, blue for someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, and orange for those that don’t have a personal connection but still want to support. There is also a white flower which is meant to represent someone who has survived Alzheimer’s – a hopeful reminder of hope on the horizon. The purpose of the pinwheel flowers is to demonstrate why the community takes the time to participate in the Walk. Participants share stories and the crowd will hold up their flowers in solidarity. More than anything, the Walk is a promise to honor and remember those we love and to keep fighting for a world without Alzheimer’s. “It gives you chills,” Beth said.
Along with the symbolic magnitude of the Walk, the potential to meet others who understand all the difficulties surrounding the disease is another reason to join. Beth mentioned that often the staff and participants say that the Walk is the “biggest support group of the year” because it feels reassuring to know how many others are on similar journeys and are just as passionate about fighting back against a disease that has hurt so many families.
It’s an emotional event but also forward-looking because the funding goes toward advancing the Alzheimer’s Association mission of supporting research and providing services. Best of all, registration is free and easy. To find and register for a walk near you, visit alz.org/walk. There is no cost for registration but fundraising and donations are encouraged. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s app also has a ton of useful information and opportunities for sharing your story, which contributes to raising awareness.
All funds raised directly fund innovative scientific studies around the world. Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association ensures that families facing dementia who need support today are getting those resources, whether through a hotline, in-person education, online programs, support groups, and early-stage programs. These resources and more are available on the Alzheimer’s Association website. Every dollar makes a difference and moves their mission forward.
And while there are so many ways to get involved, Beth emphasized that the easiest and most fun way to support is to come take a walk with them!
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