The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is held annually in hundreds of communities across the nation. Great Falls’ annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s took place on Saturday morning in Gibson Park.
Melanie Williams, program director of the Montana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“People can register today, and the fundraising does go on even past today, so if somebody wanted to register for our team and didn't yet, there's still time to do that,” said Williams. “Then that money goes towards research, and it goes toward our helpline.”
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million people in America and the Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s largest nonprofit organization focused on the care, support, and research of the disease.
“Today is about honoring those who are living with the disease or those who have lost a loved one to the disease,” said Williams. “The funds go towards supporting people locally who are living with the disease or caring [for] somebody who's living with the disease, especially in our rural communities where it's harder to get resources.”
The Alzheimer’s Association also has a 24/7 helpline staffed by clinicians and specialists that people can call any time. They provide support and information to those affected or caring for someone who is living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.
One of the special things that takes place at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is called the Promise Garden ceremony.
“[Everyone caries] different colors of flowers and each color represents something. As they start the Promise Garden ceremony, different individuals will hold up their flower depending on what they're here for,” Williams said. “Some are here because they've lost somebody to Alzheimer's and dementia, and some people are living with it. Some people know of somebody who has it or they're a caregiver themselves.”
There are a variety of ways to donate to the cause. Click here to learn more.
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