MIAMI COUNTY – More than 25 teams and 70-plus individual walkers already have registered to join the ongoing fight to end a disease that is the sixth leading cause of death in the nation and affects approximately 2,000 people in Miami County.
“Sadly, that number will continue to grow,” said Trisha Elliott, recruitment chairperson for this year’s Miami County Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“The most common age (at onset) is between 70 and 80 years old — one in nine seniors is living with Alzheimer’s in Miami County. But people affected by it are getting younger and younger.”
To help fund research and treatment for the disease, as well as for support groups and respite care for family members and caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s, the walk will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16, beginning at the Troy Courthouse Square.
Registration on walk day will start at 9 a.m., followed by a 10 a.m. ceremony, then the Walk at 10:16 a.m. A 2-mile route will lead participants to the Adams Street Bridge, then back to the starting point.
The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest Alzheimer’s awareness and fundraising event, taking place in 600-plus communities across the U.S.
Elliott got involved with the walk a couple of years ago, following the deaths of her mother-in-law and a close friend’s grandmother from Alzheimer’s.
“I walked with my daughter, who was 3 at the time,” she recalled. “I feel I can help honor my mother-in-law’s memory and try to help find a cure.”
The 2016 walk had a goal of $55,000, which it surpassed by $10,000. This year’s goal is $70,000, Elliott said.
In the months leading up to the walk, organizers are seeking both teams and individual walkers, as well as volunteers for the planning committee and various tasks.
“We’ve been trying to reach out to area businesses as well,” Elliott noted.
In addition to the walk, the group supports those living with Alzheimer’s and the people who love and care for them through a Promise Garden. The garden features flowers of different colors that represent the various ways in which people are affected by the disease. Blue symbolizes those actively living with Alzheimer’s; yellow stands for those supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s; purple is for people who have lost someone to the disease; and orange means, “I support the cause and a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.”
If you cannot take part in the walk, you can still donate through a friend or relative who is participating or by going online to alz.org/walk and selecting “Find a Walk” to locate the Miami County event.
The donation page also includes links for those who would like to register for the walk, volunteer for the planning committee or help out in other ways on walk day, including registration, parking/hospitality, food/beverage, the Promise Garden, water stops and other areas.
The Alzheimer’s Association also offers at 24/7 help line at (800) 272-3900.
“If you need someone to talk to, need support or have questions, you can call the help line,” Elliott said. “I don’t think a lot of people know about it, so we’re trying to spread the word around.”
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341