The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Gainesville and surrounding area residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, October 3.

The Gainesville Walk to End Alzheimer’s continues, but instead of hosting a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups on sidewalks, tracks and trails across Gainesville and surrounding counties.

“This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere,” said Wendy Vizek, vice president, constituent events at the Alzheimer’s Association. “The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the need to walk. This year, more than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia. With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”

Components of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s are being replicated. On walk day, an opening ceremony will feature local speakers and a presentation of "Promise Flowers" to honor the personal reasons participants join together to fight Alzheimer’s and all other dementia, all delivered to participants' smartphones, tablets and computers. A small group of Alzheimer’s Association staff and volunteers will create the Promise Garden in a “view only” format on Walk day at the Downtown Gainesville Square to honor all those impacted by Alzheimer’s.

New features are being added to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app to create an opportunity for the community to connect. Participants can use the app and new “Walk Mainstage'' to track their steps and distance, follow a virtual Walk path, manage their Facebook fundraisers and access information and resources from the association and walk sponsors to help individuals and families affected by the disease. A new audio track is available to encourage participants along the way and to congratulate them upon completion of their walk.

“Alzheimer’s is not taking a hiatus during COVID-19 and neither are we,” said Lauren Schmitt, staff partner, Gainesville Walk to End Alzheimer’s. “We must continue Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and we are working with all participants to ensure they have a powerful and moving experience that is felt when we are together. Many of our constituents are at higher risk when it comes to COVID-19 and we know that our volunteers and participants appreciate our commitment to keeping all involved healthy and safe.”

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease – the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 16 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Georgia alone, there are more than 150,000 people living with the disease and 540,000 caregivers. 

To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit georgiawalk.org.

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