CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — The second annual Cedar City “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” will look a little different this year. Given concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, participants won’t be gathering to walk together. However, they remain united in their commitment to raising money and awareness for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and there are still ways to participate actively.
“It’s safe for everybody but still a way to connect everybody,” said Mike Miller, regional manager for the Utah chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
For this year’s event on Sept. 19, participants are encouraged to take their walk around their neighborhood, in a park, on their favorite trail or even off the beaten path in a national park. Supporters may register to walk as individuals or in small teams of family members, friends and colleagues spreading awareness and rallying donations along the way.
An opening ceremony will be broadcast live via Mainstage at 10 a.m., and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. Walkers can track their steps and exchange messages of support with other participants through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app.
After the walk, everyone is invited to visit the Promise Garden, where hundreds of colorful nylon flowers have been “planted” along with banners offering Alzheimer’s facts and resources. Each flower represents a personal connection to the disease – blue for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, yellow for caregivers, orange for any supporters and purple memorializing a loved one who has passed away.
The Promise Garden will be open for viewing at the Cedar City Motor Company, located at 1010 N. Main St., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Southern Utah University student and support group leader Famke Halma will be walking alongside other volunteers for the cause. Her group focuses on providing solutions and guidance to those caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
“Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are important to be educated upon, even as a young adult, because we all are connected to an older loved one in some way or another,” Halma said. “Having been with the organization, I’ve gained even more compassion for those who have this disease and their heroic caregivers.”
This year’s fundraising goal is $20,000, Miller said, with goals being determined by the size of each community where a walk is held and the resources it needs for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Miller said the Alzheimer’s Association provides easy tools for walkers to share the event and ask for contributions through email and social media. Gifts of all sizes are welcome, and people are encouraged to donate even if they can’t participate in the walk.
“Gifts add up. People might get $5, $10 gifts, and all of a sudden they’ve raised a few hundred dollars,” he said, “and that is a great blessing to support our work and also to get people behind the cause.”
Participants can register on an individual basis or as part of an established team, or volunteer to be a team captain and fundraising leader. There is no cost to participate.
“Fundraising is not required,” Miller said. “We want people involved no matter what.”
Miller expressed gratitude for this year’s premier sponsor, the SUU Community Engagement Center, as well as elite sponsors AARP Utah, Grandeur Peak Global Advisors and SeniorLeaf.
Held in over 600 communities nationwide, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the largest event organized to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. All walks scheduled for 2020 have adopted the virtual format, including the upcoming St. George event on Oct. 10.
The annual event was organized to serve two key purposes, Miller said: advocacy and fundraising.
“This walk helps elevate knowledge of the resources people can access to assist them through their journey. Fundraising helps the mission and support of those resources,” he said. “It really fulfills a need and a desire people have to support a cause and help us end a disease that’s the fourth-leading cause of death in Utah.”
To register for the Cedar City Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit the website or text ALZWALK to 51555.
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- What: Cedar City Walk to End Alzheimer’s
- When: Sept. 19, starting at 10 a.m.
- Where: Virtual event
- Tickets: Free
- Information: Alzheimer’s Association St. George | Telephone: 435-238-4998 ext. 8773 | Email: [email protected] | Website.
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