Saturday, September 8, the 2012 South Sound Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place at Thea’s Park in Tacoma located at 535 Dock Street Tacoma, WA 98402. The walk is free and people can pre-register online at: http://www.alz.org/alzwa/ or register between 8:30 am and 10 am the day of the walk. The walk begins at 10 am and is a two mile walk. Free parking, a light breakfast snack, and water will also be available. The walk is non-competitive and welcomes all ages and exercise ability.
Dana Neil, volunteer and member of the planning and steering committee for the Memory Walk, revealed that there would be optional raffle tickets to purchase for a $1 a ticket for participants to win really nice gift baskets from long-term care facilities which include different basket themes, a facial skincare massager and skincare products from Clairesonic, and a Sonicare tooth care product.
Dana commented: “It’s pretty; on the water, and nice area for the walk. I think the event is obviously very significant. It brings a lot of needed awareness to the disease and the association. The association provides to families and individuals who struggle with this illness. I don’t think Alzheimer’s gets enough attention that it deserves. It’s nice, it brings the community together. I think it bonds and helps a family member or someone that feels isolated and the issues Alzheimer’s comes with. It helps bring people together. So many people start up conversations and connect with similar stories you take away feeling that you’re not alone with it. People understand what you are going through; I think it’s a huge piece people get out of the walk.”
It was interesting to learn from Dana that Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death for disease in the U.S. She also informed us that in Washington State, there are 110,000 people who have Alzheimer’s and that every 69 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s. These facts that Dana shared were according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Dana shared: “For me, personally, it moves me on an emotional level. I lost my dad last year because of this disease. This helps me heal through my grief and honor him so he didn’t die in vain. I walk away feeling more powerful and knowing that I’m making a difference; not just him but the millions of people that still have to struggle with this. This motivates me to keep fighting for him and the people I work with on a day to day basis. I don’t feel they have a voice and this gives them a voice; a way that we can advocate for them.”
Dana discussed how this walk and organization was different compared to others: “I like the fact that you don’t have to commit a certain amount of money. I think that’s extremely important. The fact that you can just show up and be a part of it, it almost makes you wants work harder to raise the money. The organization provides you a lot of ways to raise funds.
We had the longest day challenge this past June. On June 20, the longest day of this year, we had to think of a challenge for ourselves for one day since our loved ones are challenged every day with Alzheimer’s. They also wanted us to raise money to see if people can get you to complete the challenge. My friend and I committed to walking 12 hours straight and had people to back us up. We collected a total of $500 and walked from 6 am to 6 pm. We only stopped to go to the bathroom and for refills on our drinks. We walked just under 26 miles. It was one of the hardest things we ever done and most incredible thing we have ever done. I lost my dad and my friend lost her grandpa to this disease; it was so powerful. It was like nothing else I’ve ever done. They motivate you in ways that I’ve never seen any other organization do. I sent out letters to 75 people I knew requesting donations.”
When asked who she recommended attend the 2012 South Sound Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Dana replied, “Anybody that has an interest in this disease, is touched by this disease, or knows someone who’s been touched by this disease. It is a remarkable event and only a few hours out of someone’s morning. You walk away feeling pretty incredible on how much you’re touched by the stories you hear and the people there. It’s not a waste of your time and so worth your while. You can hear the speakers and learn about what this illness is all about. It’s only gonna continue to grow and get worse. We need to pay attention to it. Anybody who has any inkling, I’d encourage to show up for this.”
For more information, please visit: http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk/General or call Justine Stevens at: 206.529.3898.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com