September is here! For most families, it signifies the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. However, for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, it means much more. September 21st is “World Alzheimer’s Day”; a day when Alzheimer’s awareness is brought to the global stage. In the United States, it also marks the kick-off of the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s awareness and research, “Walk to End Alzheimer’s”. Originated in 1989 as the “Memory Walk”, 9 chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association organized awareness walks in their respective areas, raising almost $150,000. Over the last 24 years, the walk has escalated with over 600 chapters participating in 2014 and total of $67 million dollars raised.
The walks have drawn world wide attention for drawing several generations of families together. The Alzheimer’s Association has created different colored daisies for walkers to carry:
- Blue represents someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Purple is for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease.
- Yellow represents someone who is currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Orange is for everyone who supports the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.
The daisies represent the flowers in “The Promise Garden” which symbolizes each participants promise to remember, to honor, to care for and to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Keeping Alzheimer’s in the spotlight is the best way to insure that the much needed support continues to build. Of course, as in any cause, money is usually the driving force as it provides the means for quality research to be conducted on an ongoing basis. However, we also need our government’s support in the form of resources, regulations, laws, etc…to have any chance at defeating this epidemic. As the walk continues to grow, the more visible it is. Legislators will see that this really is an important issue to the American people which, in turn, will lead to necessary funding and support programs. A great example of raising awareness for a cause is the fight against breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen foundation has been able to spread their message across every media platform, including top level sporting events and players. We have all seen the NFL teams run out with pink jerseys and shoes…raising awareness in unheard of numbers. Another great example was the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon that ran from 1956 until last year, its final airing. For over 50 years, Labor Day weekend was synonymous with the telethon which raised millions of dollars and drew in millions of viewers.
Hopefully, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s won’t have a 50 year run. If we can pull together now, there is a chance that a cure will be discovered in the next 20 years. There is a lot of talk about what needs to be done to fight Alzheimer’s, now is the time to walk the walk.
Terra Vista of Oakbrook Terrace will be participating in the Northwest Suburban Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 12th in Schaumburg at Boomers Stadium. If you are interested in joining a team, Terra Vista welcomes any and all particpants to help us in this figth against Alzheimer’s disease. Click on Team Terra Vista for more information. We look forward to seeing everyone out and showing their support.
If you are interested in participating in a walk near you or making a contribution please visit this link: https://act.alz.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=walk_homepage