Alzheimer’s disease affects many people throughout the country and the Tri-Cities. Although there is no known cure for this disease, The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is helping and hoping to make that dream a reality.
Meredith Sieber, manager of development at the Alzheimer’s association, is coordinating the walk, which will take place Sep. 29 at Founders Park.
“I work with volunteer planning committees to help execute all aspects of the walk,” Sieber said. “The length of the walk is about two miles. Registration will start at 9 a.m., and the walk starts at 10:30 a.m.”
There will be something for everyone at the event, including people of all ages. Information about the disease and the Alzheimer’s Association will also be provided.
“We’ll have free food, a kid’s area and entertainment,” Sieber said. “The walkers will have an opportunity to learn more about the program and services that we in the association offer along with getting involved in clinical trials and advocacy efforts.”
Though walkers will be physically active in the event, there will also be the opportunity for participants to pay homage to those who cannot.
“Everyone who comes on to the walk site will get a promise card and flower,” she said. “The promise card and flower are representative of their connection to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a great way to carry that memory of your loved one and to show that you’re physically fighting for them and [finding] a cure.”
At the beginning of the walk, participants will plant flowers in memory or recognition of a loved one or someone they know affected by the disease. At the end of the walk, participants get these flowers back as a reminder of that person.
“Whether or not you have a personal connection to the disease, you can still be a part of our promise card ceremony that we conduct,” Sieber said. “It’s a very meaningful, moving and poignant ceremony that’s wrapped around everyone’s connection to the disease.”
The walk allows people with various ties to the disease to come and tell their story, bringing the community of those affected by Alzheimer’s together.
“We’ll have speakers speaking about their connections, their stories and sharing what it’s been like for them and their loved ones,” she said. “Whether or not they’ve been a caregiver or lost someone to the Alzheimer’s disease, or if they’re just truly an advocate for the disease, you’ll get to hear from several people.”
Raising money for funding things like research is an important part of why Sieber believes the walk is important. However, there are other, more personal reasons that this event is organized.
“We don’t want to forget these people that have suffered from this disease,” she said. “We want to remember them, honor them, care for them and fight for them.”
The walk is crucial to the continuance of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. Sieber wants to remind people that getting involved in any way is important.
“The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the largest fundraising event for the Alzheimer’s Association,” Sieber said. “If you can’t participate in the walk and still want to raise funds, we welcome any donations. Without The Walk to End Alzheimer’s, we wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that fuel our mission.”
To register or get more information on this event, visit act.alz.org, or call 1-800-272-3900.