Generous individuals are being asked to step up in support of the fight against a disease affecting an estimated 55,000 in this area at the Southeast Indiana Walk to end Alzheimer’s Saturday, Aug. 24, at Liberty Park. Following 9 a.m. registration, a ceremony is slated for 9:30 a.m. in the pavilion. The 2-mile walk on the same route as last year will follow at 10.

"Last year, the community showed tremendous support and we’re excited for another incredible year," says Hannah Volz, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Cincinnati Chapter special events manager.

Why should area folks participate in the second annual moneymaker? She answers that thanks to the impressive fundraising by many, "we’re able to provide critical programs and services to the southeastern Indiana area. These programs include free education and training, support groups and family care planning meetings.

"We also have made significant progress with research. In the past few years, we have learned more about possible preventions of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. But we still have a long journey to go. Alzheimer’s is relentless, but so are we. The Alzheimer’s Association will not stop fighting until we find the first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease and we’re grateful to our volunteers and supporters who have joined the fight with us."

Last year’s event attracted nearly 500 participants, raising more than $45,000.

So far 27 teams and 160 participants have registered for the 2019 event. They are 57 percent to the $52,000 goal with $29,464 raised as of Aug. 7.

Team Jane members explain why they participate: "Our mom always loved and supported us unconditionally. We walk to celebrate that love and share it with others. It is especially meaningful to walk in the town where we grew up. We have so many longtime friends who have overwhelmed us with love, support and their participation in the Walk to end Alzheimer's. We also walk in hope for our future, that our children will not have to endure the pain and heartbreak that Alzheimer's brings."

The organizer explains, "This year, we’ll be bringing more attention to our Champions, participants who raise $500 or more; Grand Champions, participants who raise $1,000 or more; and Elite Grand Champions, a brand new level to recognize participants who raise $2,500 or more."

Although there is no registration fee, participants are encouraged to collect donations. They can register online at https://bit.ly/2Xqo4C or the morning of the walk. Every registered participant will receive a T-shirt after achieving the $100 fundraising minimum.

Supporters don't have to walk Aug. 24 to make a difference. Donations also can be made online or by mailing a tax-deductible check or money order to Alzheimer’s Association, 644 Linn St., Suite 1026, Cincinnati, OH 45203.

To raise even more money, that day raffle tickets will be sold for $1 each, six for $5 or 30 for $20 for local gift baskets and raffle items.

Area corporate walk supporters include Ripley Crossing, Local Presenting Sponsor; Crum Trucking, Champion’s Club Sponsor; and Hillrom, Promise Garden Sponsor.

Radio legend Jim Scott will serve as event master of ceremonies.

At the walk, strollers are allowed, but skateboards, bicycles, inline skates and wheelie footwear are discouraged. Well-behaved dogs are welcome, but must be on leashes and walkers must clean up after pets.

Volz looks forward to Batesville's event. "The opening ceremony is my favorite part. We honor those who are currently living with the disease and those we have lost. Each participant will receive a Promise Garden Flower when they arrive. There are four colors of flowers, and each represents the person’s relationship to the disease:

• Blue: I have Alzheimer’s or dementia.

• Yellow: I am currently caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

• Purple: I have lost someone to Alzheimer’s or dementia.

• Orange: I do not have a direct connection to the disease, but I believe in a world without Alzheimer’s.

The manager says, "We ask a representative for each flower to stand on the stage. We speak about that person’s story and connection to Alzheimer’s and everyone else who shares their same flower color holds up their Promise Garden Flower as a symbol of unity in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It’s really a beautiful moment."

Committee members include Shannon Allgeier, Jane Craig, Kristy Crum, Jennifer Merkel, Sarah Riehle, Sherri Rudolf and Jennifer Werner, Batesville; Dan and Bev Toon, Guilford; Megan Maynard, Milan; Marilyn Manlove, Osgood; and Diana Trabel, Sunman.

More volunteers are needed to help with set-up, clean-up, registration, the promise garden and T-shirt distribution. Interested volunteers should visit the online volunteer page for more information and to sign up, or contact Volz at hvolz@alz.org or 513-721-5284.

Kristin Cooley, Alzheimer's Association Greater Cincinnati Chapter clinical social worker, reports, "Last year, we were blown away by the turnout and support considering it was our very first year hosting the event. We are beyond excited to see how it all turns out this year."

Volz reflects, “Alzheimer’s disease touches many families in southeastern Indiana. ... We have been overwhelmed by the community’s interest and support of the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

How the walk impacts patients and families

Serving as the primary national fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association, Walk to end Alzheimer’s is an annual event that brings those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, family members and the community together in a show of love, remembrance and support. Last year, an estimated 7,500 people participated in the chapter’s five local walks, raising more than $1.4 million to support the Greater Cincinnati Chapter’s local programs and services and national Alzheimer research.

The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati serves 37 counties in southeastern Indiana (including Franklin, Ripley, Dearborn, Switzerland and Ohio), southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky. Today an estimated 5.8 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease – the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only one in the top 10 without an effective treatment or prevention.

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