This year's local Walk to End Alzheimer's will take place starting at 9 a.m. Saturday at Taylor Field in Harrisburg. Nearly 235 people from the Southeastern Illinois area are expected to attend this year's event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer's disease, the nation's sixth leading cause of death.
The annual walk takes place throughout September and October in nearly 600 communities across the nation. The Harrisburg walk will involve raffles, free food and musical entertainment by Harrisburg Mayor Eric Gregg, who moonlights as a DJ for local events.
The Alzheimer's Association's Walk to End Alzheimer's is a united movement to reclaim the future for millions. Participants will join hundreds of others in at least a 1-mile walk and will learn more about Alzheimer's disease, advocacy opportunities, clinical trial enrollment and support programs and services of the Alzheimer's Association, according to a prepared release by the Alzheimer's Association.
Each walker will also join in a meaningful tribute ceremony to honor those affected by Alzheimer's disease.
Those interested in participating may start or join a team today at alz.org/walk or by calling (618) 985-1095. Local organizer Janice Aldridge can also be reached at (618) 841-4210 for additional information.
Aldridge, who participates in a variety of charitable work in the area, became involved in the Alzheimer's Walk when her mother was diagnosed with the illness in 2001.
"It's really hard on the family," Aldridge said. "Just paying for caregiving to keep them at home is a burden."
The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer's Association mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk and now the Alzheimer's Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer's.
An estimated 5.4 million Americans are currently living with the disease and someone develops the disease every 68 seconds, according to the release.
Aldridge is encouraging anyone who is interested to show up for registration at 9 a.m. Saturday, even if they haven't been able raise many funds for the association. Simply getting the community involved and raising awareness is important to the organization.
"If you do nothing, nothing ever changes," Aldridge said.
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's research, care and support. According to the release, their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, along with providing and enhancing care and support for all affected and to reducing the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.