By Sam Wildow
TROY — The Miami County Walk to End Alzheimer’s gathered at Prouty Plaza in Troy on Saturday, helping the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter reach its local goal of raising $39,000.
Saturday’s event saw 169 participants and 39 teams working together to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter.
“I think it’s a great turnout,” said Kathy Alexander, co-chair of the Miami County Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
The event returned to an in-person format this year after holding a virtual walk last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are more than 6 million Americans affected by and 30,000 of them are right here in the Miami County,” said Karen Carter, vice president of Development at Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley. “Our Walk to End Alzheimer’s raises vital funds that allow the association to support research and to offer all our programs and services completely free. The association is on a mission to celebrate the first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease, and with the support and involvement of this community, that mission will be realized.”
“Over 11 million individuals are serving as unpaid caregivers,” said Robin Shafer, co-chair of the Miami County Walk to End Alzheimer’s. “As the prevalence of this disease continues to grow, the cost of care is escalating into the hundreds of billions. Alzheimer’s is destroying our families, our finances, and our future, and it’s time to end it. The money we raise helps the Alzheimer’s Association lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality of care and support.”
Prior to the kickoff of the walk, the event held a Promise Garden Ceremony, during which participants of the walk were given garden wind spinners in the shapes of flowers with color corresponding with their connection to the walk and/or to Alzheimer’s. The color purple meant that person had lost someone to Alzheimer’s disease, the color blue meant that person was living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the color yellow meant that person supports or cares for someone living with Alzheimer’s, and the color orange meant that person supports the cause and the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
“As you can see, Walk to End Alzheimer’s is full of flowers, each one representing our connection to Alzheimer’s, our reason to end this disease,” Shafer said. “No matter what color you’re holding, one thing is the same: these flowers have a lot of fight in them.”
Alzheimer’s is a progressive fatal brain disease that kills nerve cells and tissues in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. During the pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association has continued to offer education programs, personalized care consultations and support groups to families impacted by the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. But according to the National Institute on Aging, recent estimates indicate Alzheimer’s disease may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people. In the Miami Valley, there are 30,000 individuals living with the disease and an estimated 100,000 caregivers. Individuals can reach the Alzheimer’s Association through its 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.