FORT WAYNE — The Fort Wayne Walk to End Alzheimer’s will move forward on Saturday, Oct. 3, but things will look different this year. Instead of hosting a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups on sidewalks, tracks and trails.
“This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere,” said Natalie Sutton, executive director, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. “The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the reason we walk. We need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia. In just the first few months of this pandemic, our Chapter provided more than 100 education programs and caregiver support groups online and by phone — free of charge. With the dollars raised during Walk, we can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”
Time-honored 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' computers. A small group of Alzheimer’s Association staff and volunteers will create the iconic Promise Garden in a “view only” format from 9-11 a.m. on walk day at the Parkview Field entrance on Jefferson Boulevard to honor all those impacted by Alzheimer’s. At 10:15 a.m., participants driving by the Promise Garden will participate in a “honk for hope” in a show of unity in the fight against the disease.
To enhance the participant experience leading up to the event and on walk day, 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 Abby Geha, manager, Fort Wayne 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 Indiana alone, there are more than 110,000 people living with the disease and 342,000 caregivers.
To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org/Indiana/walk.