ASHTABULA – Neighborhoods, trails and parks will be the site of this year’s 2020 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, thanks to a new walk experience allowing participants to walk everywhere to show support for those living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Instead of hosting a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups in light of restrictions caused by COVID-19. The first-ever Ashtabula Walk will be 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 on Bridge Street in the Ashtabula Harbor.
This year is the first year for the Walk in Ashtabula, said Katie Mang, vice president, fund development for the Cleveland Area Chapter.
“We are excited to add Ashtabula to the list of communities where residents can show their support for Alzheimer’s awareness and support,” she said. “With 50,000 individuals in northeast Ohio living with Alzheimer’s and 160,000 caregivers, we know that some of those affected live in Ashtabula County.”
All the money raised at The Walk to End Alzheimer’s goes toward Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
“We invite people to register now and to join us in October,” Mang said.
Since participants will be walking in their neighborhoods on Oct. 10, Mang invited them to listen to the Walk opening ceremony broadcast and then visit the special drive-by Alzheimer’s Awareness Promise Garden.
Last year about 6,400 northeast Ohio residents participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs. Alzheimer’s is a progressive, fatal disease that kills nerve cells and tissues in the brain, affecting a person’s ability to remember, think and plan.
The goal is to raise $35,000, according to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website.
“This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere,” said Wendy Vizek, vice president of constituent events at the Alzheimer’s Association. “The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the need to walk. This year, more than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia. With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”
With the help of technology, participants in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s can track their steps, follow a virtual walk path and experience the traditional Promise Garden Ceremony.
To enhance the participant experience leading up to the event, new features are being added to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app. Participants can use the app and new “Walk Mainstage’’ to track their distance, manage their Facebook fundraisers and access information and resources from the association. A new audio track is available to encourage participants along the way and to congratulate them upon completion of their walk.
On Walk day, the opening ceremony will feature local speakers and a presentation of Promise Flowers to honor the personal reasons participants join the fight to end Alzheimer’s, all delivered to participants’ smartphones, tablets and computers.
Walkers will be asked to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations from local health officials is w with those outside of their household.
For more information or to register for this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit: alz.org/walk. To share, use #Walk2EndAlz and #ENDALZ.