Walk to End Alzheimer’s set for Oct. 6
The 2018 N. Harris/Montgomery County Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Town Green Park in The Woodlands.
Jo Smith, N. Harris/Montgomery County Walk to End Alzheimer’s chair, said there are currently 147 teams registered and that the organization expects up to 185 teams to sign up by the morning of the event. She added that there were 1,113 walkers last year and that this year is projected to have 1,400 participants. This year, the walk has set a fundraising goal of $180,000.
Registration will begin at 7 a.m. followed by a ceremony at 8 a.m. that will include a “Promise Garden” where those in attendance can show their support for one another by raising a symbolic colored flower.
An orange flower represents people who support the cause and the vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease. Blue represents those who have been diagnosed and are living with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia. Yellow represents people that are supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s while purple signifies having lost someone to the disease.
“The Promise Garden is the centerpiece of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and it is my favorite part of the event,” Smith said. “It is the way in which the association unites walkers around its mission and our hope for the first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that currently has no prevention, treatment or cure. It’s a way to honor those affected by the disease and for me it is a way for me to honor my Dad who died in 2013 from Alzheimer’s. The Promise Garden theme is really woven through every part of the Walk.”
Smith said the Promise Garden ceremony takes place during the opening ceremony when a single representative of each color comes up on the stage and tells their story of their connection to the disease.
“Once their story has been told they invite all others in the crowd holding that color flower to raise their flower and keep it held high until the end of the ceremony,” Smith said. “As you can imagine this is a very cathartic experience for people who have endured this disease that is often very isolating for caregivers and diagnosed individuals.”
Also during the ceremony, the highest individual fundraisers and the team with most amount of walkers will be recognized. The ceremony will be followed by the 3.1 mile walk which will begin at Town Green Park and make two laps around The Woodlands Waterway.
The event will include an interactive photo booth, Memory Wall, line dancing warm up and walk route entertainment provided by Oak Ridge High School cheerleaders and the Aldine High School drum line.
Smith noted that awareness is key when it comes to fighting Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Awareness is important so that people in the community including our healthcare workers can understand signs and symptoms that they may be seeing in their loved ones. Without proper awareness about the disease our hope for a first survivor becomes less and less likely,” she said.
The cost for treating those with Alzheimer’s keeps rising. According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, medical care will cost the nation $277 billion in 2018 and that figure is expected to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2050. The website also states that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
“This disease is incredibly expensive and most families cannot afford everything that comes with the disease. Funding a cure is critical to eliminating this disease and the financial hardship that it will inevitably place on Americans and our healthcare system,” Smith said. “I encourage everyone to contact your elected officials and ask them to continue to fund research and to support legislature to help us find a cure.”
Rep. Kevin Brady, R- The Woodlands, is scheduled to make an appearance at the walk, Smith added.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease, visit alz.org. For more information on the 2018 N. Harris/Montgomery County Walk to End Alzheimer’s, go to https://bit.ly/2E7JJSv.