A healthy walk in the bright sunshine on a beautiful fall morning with thousands of people who “get you,” all for an important cause. This is the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter, serving the southern-most part of California from the Pacific Ocean to the Arizona border, is organizing three walks this year, September 24 in North County San Diego at Kit Carson Park in Escondido, October 8 in San Diego at NTC Park Liberty Station on Point Loma, and November 19 in Imperial County at Bucklin Park in El Centro.
Alzheimer’s disease afflicts more than 65,000 people in San Diego County alone, with more than twice that number serving as unpaid caregivers, usually family members or friends. Two thirds of those with the disease are women, with a prevalence rate twice as high in the Black community, and one and a half times as high in the Hispanic community.
The Walk experience is an energizing, emotional morning where participants meet old friends, bond with new ones and find comfort in discovering they are not alone on their Alzheimer’s or caregiver journeys.
“Participants say that being a part of the Walk is their way of doing something to honor all those living with Alzheimer’s and to help put an end to this progressive disease, so that others do not have to experience the loss of a loved one, not to mention the struggles while they are still alive,” Joanie Ewing, Director of Development for the chapter shared with GB Magazine.
Dr. Rema Raman, Professor of Neurology at Keck School of Medicine of USC, Director of Biostatistics at the USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute, and Board Chair of the Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter, adds that “it is a way for the whole community, including those of us dedicated to research, to come together with the common focus of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.”
Janet Hamada Kelley, the chapter’s Executive Director, points out that “money raised goes toward research for a cure, as well as educating the public through programs and support groups for those we serve. Every step brings us closer to achieving the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.”
Participants may join an existing team, or start their own team by recruiting neighbors, friends and family. Each morning’s Walk begins with inspirational speakers, music and a flower ceremony where participants are given flowers, with the colors representing the reason they walk; as someone with Alzheimer’s, caring for another with Alzheimer’s, someone who has lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s, or those simply there to support research for a cure.
To sign up for any of this year’s Walks, go to www.alz.org/Walk, or scan the QR code.