Walk to End Alzheimer’s event offers hope, brings people together

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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By Alex Amos

The Alzheimer’s Association held its annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday at Granger Park.

Rain fell during the event, but that didn’t prevent a sizeable turnout, bringing people from different backgrounds together in raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.

“I am impressed with every single person who decided to put on the rain gear and come out here because I can tell that they are super dedicated to this disease and raising money so that we have more for research and care and support,” Senior Director of Development of Alzheimer’s Association Georgia, Amy Richardson said.

The walk encourages all members of the community to get involved by giving each participant one of four flowers, purple, blue, orange, and yellow, all with respective meanings. These meanings include representation for those who live with the disease, know someone who has the disease, take care of someone suffering, and those who support the cause. Every participant is given the opportunity to “plant” their flower in the Promise Garden at the end of the event.

“My favorite part of the day is really the Promise Garden ceremony,” said Nancy Patra, director of government affairs for the Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “When you see people hold up the different colored flowers, you get a feel for how this impacts people, not just whether or not it impacts everybody around you.”

Members of the Alzheimer’s Association also hope to one day bring another flower to join their current selection– a white one to represent the survivors of Alzheimer’s disease.

“One of our representatives is raising a white flower, and I am confident that this flower will one day be added to our garden because it represents the first survivor of Alzheimer’s,” said Florence “Pipi” Rodgers, board chair of the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “That flower gives us hope and with your help, we’ll find our first survivor a lot sooner than you may expect.”

Rodgers urged that she ultimately wants to see more community involvement toward helping to support those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She lost family members to the disease, lighting a fire in her to help others who struggle with it.

“The Alzeimer’s community needs to know that we are here for them, and everyone needs to know that this devastating disease is everywhere, including Troup County,” Rodgers said. “We are here to help and if we work together to find an end to Alzheimer’s, we will one day find it.”

The walk is not only a statement for the community of Alzheimer’s, but it is also the most prominent source of financial support for the research that goes into finding a cure for the disease through the Alzheimer’s Association. As of last Saturday, the organization has raised over $20,000 to go toward its goal of ending Alzheimer’s.

“The walk is our largest resource for fundraising, and my hope in the future is that we can keep on building our walks because that means we can keep on forwarding our funding for research, care, and support for those who need help the most,” Rodgers said.