About 100 walkers gathered near Baker Lake in Peru on Thursday for the 14 th Annual Illinois Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s hosted by the Central Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
The evening was about remembering those who are or have suffered from Alzheimer’s and to help raise money for a cure. Walkers were asked to pick up Promise Garden flowers which were pinwheels in four different colors. A blue was for people who currently have Alzheimer’s, yellow was given to people who support or care for an individual affected by the disease, purple was for those who lost someone to Alzheimer’s and orange was for those who came to support finding a cure.
“It’s important to get many people aware of the disease in every community because Alzheimer’s is very prevalent,” said Janet Veach, director of public relations for the Central Illinois Chapter.
She said 210,000 people in Illinois currently have Alzheimer’s and almost 5 million nationwide. She added that each individual would have three or four caregivers which means many people are affected by the disease. Also, the number is expected to triple over the next several years as the baby boomers grow older.
“It’s going to be a serious health problem and it already is,” Veach said.
“We are supporting a cure for Alzheimer’s,” said Brittany Hill, marketing director at Pleasant View in Ottawa.
She and several other workers and caregivers brought residents from the home who are suffering from dementia to participate in the walk. Pleasant View has a floor that specially treats patients with dementia. Hill said it was good to show people that the residents could still be a part of the community and enjoy the day.
“I think it is an important disease and that we need to find a cure,” she added.
The Central Illinois Chapter supports 20 counties and holds eight different walks across central Illinois each year. Veach said the walks are always fun and a great way to make others aware of Alzheimer’s.
“It’s an extension of our mission for the Alzheimer’s Association,” she said.
The Association focuses on information, referrals, care consultations, education, fundraising, research, support groups and safety services. Several local informational and support events will be conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association during the month of September. For more information, visit www.alz.org/illinoiscentral or call (800) 272-3900.
Alicia LeGrand-Riniker can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or email@example.com