Alzheimer’s walk raises funds for research, support
CHESTERTOWN —A rainy morning in Wilmer Park couldn’t stop the third annual Chestertown Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday.
Carol Zimmerman of the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Maryland, which coordinated the local fundraising effort, said there were 30 registered walkers, representing four teams. Walkers had a choice of two courses, along the Gilchrest Rail Trail and back, or around the park.
Zimmerman said there were a total of 71 teams for the Eastern Shore, comprising some 500 walkers. The walk, one of more than 800 nationwide, raises funds for research and to support patients and their families.
On the whole, the Eastern Shore walks raised $80,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, Zimmerman said. In an email Monday, she wrote, “70% of the money raised by the walks stays in the chapter and is used for programs and services.”
In an opening ceremony Saturday, participants were given pinwheel “flowers” to indicate their reason for participation. Blue flowers were for those with someone close to them currently diagnosed with the disease. Yellow flowers were for caregivers, paid or unpaid. Orange flower were for Alzheimer’s advocates. And purple was for the memory of someone who died with the disease.
Gail Yerkie, director of the medical adult day care scenter at the Kent County Health Department, gave a summary of Alzheimer’s statistics. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, she said, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. — killing more than prostrate and breast cancer combined. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
In 2015, Yerkie said, more than 15 million caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care. Family caregivers typically spend more than $5,000 annually for the care of Alzheimer’s patients.
Kimberly Cox of Heron Point said the retirement community sent 10 walkers to Wilmer Park. Heron Point residents also gave several donations of $5,000 or more to the association, and Heron Point was a major sponsor of the Chestertown walk.
Heron Point has also scheduled an Alzheimer’s conference Nov. 1, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 12th annual Upper Shore Caregivers’ Conference, which is free for family caregivers, includes panels on managing the behavioral symptoms of dementia and on legal and financial planning for the disease. A continental breakfast will be served.
For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900 or email email@example.com.