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Hundreds walk for Alzheimer’s in Aiken

October 7, 2018

A group of women and girls walked the track at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center on a warm Saturday morning to remember their mom and grandmother, Mildred H. Key, who passed away from Alzheimer’s last September.

She didn’t say anything bad about anyone, was a good Christian lady and a beautiful person, they said, and being able to walk in her memory and help raise funds for research to try to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else is why they came out.

“It’s a hardship to watch a family member deteriorate in front of your eyes like she did,” said daughter-in-law Ann Glover Key.

Mildred’s family walked with around 450 others to raise money for Alzheimer’s as part of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Aiken.

Taylor Wilson, with the Aiken walk committee, said the fundraising goal was around $75,000 for the day, and the fundraiser would go into November.

She said the funds go to care, educational workshops, a 24-hour hotline and research.

“The community has a lot of really generous folks who have a connection to the disease,” she said, which is why the walk is so impactful in Aiken.

Leslie Addison is the chairperson of the Aiken committee. She joined at first because she was working with geriatric patients at the Aurora Pavilion at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. The second year she was on the committee, though, her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“That’s why I’ve stayed involved on the committee, because my grandfather ended up passing away from the disease,” she said.

The 2018 walk is the 10th year in Aiken. Participants carried either purple, orange, blue or yellow flowers as they walked. Purple if they have lost someone to Alzheimer’s; orange if they support the Alzheimer’s Association cause; blue if they are living with Alzheimer’s; and yellow if they are a caregiver to someone with the disease. Many people carried multiple flowers.

Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon presented a proclamation before the walk, deeming Oct. 6, 2018 as Walk to End Alzheimer’s Day in Aiken.

Addison said she has a 1-year-old daughter now, and she doesn’t want her to experience the devastating effects of the disease when she gets older.

“There are so many people in our community impacted by this disease, by their grandparents, by their neighbors, by their church members, and it’s the only disease in the top leading diseases of death that cannot be cured, and so I think it’s so important to bring awareness and to bring fundraising so that we can find a cure,” she said.

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