Walk to raise funds for local Alzheimer's Association

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 27, 2013 

For the first time, the local Alzheimer's Association chapter is collaborating with Uptown Columbus for its annual walk.

The Walk to End Alzheimer's, one of the association's biggest fundraisers every year, will begin at 6:40 tonight in conjunction with the Uptown Concert Series featuring the Lava Lamps.

"We're hoping to draw from that crowd" that comes for the concert, said Doris Reid, the regional administrative coordinator for the local chapter.

For the past two years, the walk has been held on a Saturday morning. But this year, it's trying a Friday evening walk. While it's free to walk, Reid said participants must register between 5:45-6 p.m. at the table in the median of the 1000 block of Broadway. The walk begins at 6:40 p.m.

The two-mile route will go along Broadway and the Chattahoochee RiverWalk and back to the 1000 block of Broadway. Volunteers will be along the route to guide the walkers in the right direction. Reid said the last walkers should return by 8 p.m.

The Lava Lamps will be performing in the Uptown Concert Series and will take a break around 8:15 p.m. Announcements will be made during the band's break, Reid said. Walkers are encouraged to stay for the concert, which ends around 9 p.m.

Last year, about 600 walkers participated in the event and the group raised $86,000. This year, the organization is hoping for 800 walkers and set its fundraising goal at $100,000.

As Baby Boomers age, the Alzheimer's Association predicts that one out of eight boomers will be diagnosed with the disease. Right now, an estimated 5.4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease and more than 15 million are serving as their caretakers.

When Maria Shriver -- whose father, Sargent Shriver, died of the disease a few years ago -- produced a documentary on the subject, she found that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed and more than 200,000 people younger than 65 are diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's every year.

More than $292 million have been earmarked for research. But the search for funding is ongoing.

Christina Vogler, the local organization's senior director, said 12,000 families were served last year through its programs, referrals, education, resources and support.

These services are provided free from fundraising efforts from the spring's Dancing Stars of Columbus and the fall Walk to End Alzheimer's.

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