Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Marquette

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The Walk for Alzheimer’s participants prepare for the event with the help of volunteers. Marquette is among the 600 different communities who walk two miles to raise awareness and create support for those with the disease. Photo courtest of Kristin Rossi

Sophie Hillmeyer

The largest event for raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support and research is happening in Marquette this Saturday, Sept. 8. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place, rain or shine, at 9 a.m. at the Jacobetti Complex and is a donation-based event that is open to anyone who wants to participate, regardless of their relation to the disease.

“This is a fantastic event bringing the community together under the common desire to fight this devastating disease. It’s just great to see the grassroots effort of a community that cares deeply about people struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia,” Jake Bilodeau, regional director of Alzheimer’s Association said.

Alzheimer’s causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior and over time, symptoms can become severe enough to interfere with daily tasks and is the sixth leading cause of death in the country, Bilodeau said. The walk has been happening for 30 years and was formerly known as the “Memory Walk”. It gives participants a time to come together and show a sense of solidarity for others going through the same struggle that they may have seen within their friends and family, Bilodeau said.

“Getting involved in the Walk is a really uplifting experience,” Bilodeau said. “Often, this disease can be a really heavy topic but on Walk Day, we honor people who have struggled with this disease, but we also celebrate and remember them with joy.”

The walk happens in over 600 communities around the country in an effort to raise money and awareness for this disease that affects so many. The Walk is open to all different ages and abilities and the day is designed to accommodate
everyone.

“It’s a great day of community involvement,” Bilodeau said.

Each participant will be given a flower and the color corresponds with the person’s relation to the disease. Blue represents a person struggling with the disease, purple represents someone who has lost a loved one to the disease, yellow represents someone caring for an individual with the disease and orange represents someone who supports a world without Alzheimer’s, Bilodeau said. The event will begin with a chance for participants to share their stories and hold up their flowers, then the Walk will begin and there will be entertainment and fun along the way, he added.
Bilodeau said additional volunteers are needed at the event.

“[The Walk] is the largest event to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The more we can band together, the louder our voices become and the sooner we bring attention to and end this terrible disease,” Bilodeau said.