CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — A virtual “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” will take to the streets, sidewalks and trails of St. George on Oct. 10, with participants marching toward the collective goal of a world without Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Although this year’s walk looks a bit different due to social distancing, Mike Miller, regional manager for the Utah chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the aim remains the same: rally donations, raise awareness for the cause and have fun.
Instead of gathering to follow a designated course, participants will be walking in small groups of friends, family and coworkers while others in the community do the same. Participants can choose the length and location of their walk and set their own pace.
“We could have people in a memory care facility that are just going to walk around the outside of the building or maybe in the hallways,” Miller said. “They’ve decorated walkers and wheelchairs and put on purple outfits.”
Participants may register for the walk as individuals, join an established team or volunteer to be a team captain and fundraising leader. The Alzheimer’s Association provides easy tools for participants to share the event and ask for donations through email and social media, Miller said.
Donations are also welcomed from those who can’t participate in the event. There is no cost to register.
The walk starts at 10:30 a.m. after a brief opening ceremony that will be broadcast live via Mainstage. Participants can use the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app to track their progress throughout and exchange messages of support with other walkers.
Following the walk, the community is invited to view the Promise Garden “planted” at the Human Performance Center on the Dixie State University campus. Along with banners offering Alzheimer’s facts and resources, the grounds are dotted with hundreds of colorful nylon flowers, each hue representing a personal connection to the disease.
A blue flower is for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, yellow represents caregivers, purple memorializes a loved one lost to Alzheimer’s and orange is for anyone who supports the cause. The Promise Garden will be open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Alicia Maldonado is a new volunteer and advisory team chair with the Alzheimer’s Association who will be walking in St. George for the cause.
“It is remarkable that there are so many individuals and teams locally and worldwide focused on finding a cure for this disease, which can devastate those who must deal with it on a daily basis,” she said. “It is very gratifying to be able to increase awareness of the disease, and to inform and educate others about the tremendous resources available to those who need support during this challenging time in their lives.”
The fundraising goal for the St. George walk is $34,000. The size of a community as well as its need for resources for those living with Alzheimer’s determines the goal amount, Miller said.
This year’s walk is supported by premier sponsors Primrose Retirement Communities and the DSU Trailblazers, along with elite sponsors AARP Utah, Grandeur Peak Global Advisors and SeniorLeaf.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held in more than 600 communities nationwide each year, is the largest event organized to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Donations help the Alzheimer’s Association provide valuable resources to family members and care professionals, including a 24/7 helpline with clinical social workers and online educational materials developed over the organization’s 40-year history.
The Alzheimer’s Association St. George office opened in September 2018 and provides four different support groups for local Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers and loved ones.
Alzheimer’s is the fourth-leading cause of death in Utah, Miller said, and affects more than 5 million Americans over age 65. Chances are, nearly everyone knows someone living with Alzheimer’s or who has lost a loved one to the disease.
“That’s one of the key reasons we do this walk, to bring people together and make them aware of the resources so they don’t go through this journey alone,” he said.
To register for the St. George Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit the website or text ALZWALK to 51555.
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- What: St. George Walk to End Alzheimer’s
- When: Oct. 10, starting at 10 a.m.
- Where: Virtual event
- Tickets: Free
- Information: Alzheimer’s Association St. George | Telephone: 435-238-4998 ext. 8773 | Email: [email protected] | Website.
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