‘Walk to End Alzheimer’s’ expected to bring hundreds of residents together in the fight to end Alzheimer’s


CHARLESTON — Participants in this year’s Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be able to physically join forces in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

The Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place in-person on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. The Promise Garden Ceremony begins at 9 a.m. and the Walk begins at 9:30 a.m. Participants can either come to the Park or walk in the neighborhoods.

This year’s goal is to raise $97,500 for Alzheimer’s research and local care and support services. Sharon Covert, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association West Virginia Chapter, said, the Association decided to move forward with plans to host the 2021 Charleston Walk in person because meeting in person provides an exceptionally moving experience that can be accomplished with COVID restrictions. “The health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers remains the Chapter’s top priority,” she said.

At the Walk, participants will find a layout that allows for physical distancing, hand sanitizer stations, contactless registration, and more, Covert said. Per CDC guidelines around crowded outdoor settings, the Association asks that all Walk attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask when in an overcrowded area. Masks will be available on-site.

In West Virginia, 39,000 people live with the fatal progressive brain disease and 85,000 family and friends care for them. On Walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony—a mission-focused experience that signifies the solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s—their personal reasons to end the disease.

Covert said, “The magic of the walk happens during our opening ceremonies when participants raise colored flowers representing the reason they walk. The flower colors are: orange to represent support for the cause; purple to symbolize a loved one lost to the disease; yellow to denote caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia; blue to indicate someone living with it. When everyone raises their Promise Garden flowers that is the time that everyone in attendance truly feels they are not alone in this journey.”

Last year, 347 more people with dementia died in West Virginia than expected because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, the pandemic placed additional stress on caregivers who for months could not see their loved ones in long-term care or could not utilize services like in-home aides and adult-day care services for fear of their loved one contracting COVID.

“This year has been extremely stressful for all and that’s why our efforts to raise money for care and support for local families are so critical,” Covert said.

Appalachian Power Park is located at 601 Morris St., Charleston. To register or to donate to the Charleston Walk, go to: alz.org/walk.

The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Visit alz.org or call (800) 272-3900.

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