Walk to End Alzheimer’s kickoff

The Upper Peninsula Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association held a kickoff event Wednesday night to get a jump start fundraising for their annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

People interesting in participating were able to pick up fundraising information and learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association.  Participation for the walk continues to grow.  Marquette has held Alzheimer’s walks for eleven years.

“We’ve always had a lot of people come and walk as individuals, but now we’re seeing more family teams…organizations…we have a lot of sponsors too that come, but businesses that come together that forms teams too,” Regional Director of the U.P. Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association Ruth Almen said.  “And it’s also a really fun thing to do that really helps out other people.”

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s goal this year is to raise $55,000 to help those affected with the disease.  About 9,000 people in the U.P. are living with Alzheimer’s.

“The more you learn about Alzheimer’s, the more you learn about how it impacts just absolutely everyone,” President of the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan Jennifer Lepard said.  “It’s not just based on hereditary, early on set can hit people in their 40’s and 50’s.”

“It’s not just a disease of the very old, and I think the more you learn the more you realize how important it is to combat this disease and ending it.”

“There’s people that are so afraid to think maybe they have Alzheimer’s disease, or they have it, and they’re embarrassed by it, and they don’t need to be,” Almen said.  “Part of what happens is when they see on the news, when they see this report on the news, maybe they’re going to say ‘It’s okay for me to get help, it’s okay for me to tell somebody that I have Alzheimer’s’.”

“And because this is a great community, and there’s a lot services and supports, we really want people to know they don’t have to be afraid.  There’s a lot of people out there that support them, have a lot of respect for them, and want to be supportive to them.”

The walk is scheduled to take place on September 28 at the YMCA in Marquette.  For more information, you can call the U.P. Alzheimer’s Association at (906) 228-3910, or visit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website.