North Georgia residents are invited to wear purple this weekend and walk the streets of Gainesville to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday in the downtown Gainesville square.
Amy Johnston, communications director for the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter, said 400 people are expected to participate in the 3-mile walk.
“Funds we raise not only go to research but also those dealing with the disease right now,” Johnston said. “We help with support groups, educational classes and resources to help care for those diagnosed and their families.”
Walk to End Alzheimer’s
When: 8 a.m. Oct. 14
Where: Downtown Gainesville square
How much: Free
Donate or register: georgiawalk.org
The event will include a program informing participants about Alzheimer’s disease, clinical studies enrollment, advocacy opportunities and support programs and services, according to a press release from the organization.
“This is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs,” Johnston said of the event, which includes locations across the United States.
In 2016, Gainesville raised more than $25,000, contributing to more than $2.2 million raised in Georgia. This year, Johnston said the goal is $65,000.
“This is a team event to raise funds,” Johnston said. “We currently have 41 teams signed up and that will keep growing. The teams started raising money around June and July. We would love for everyone to be involved and raise awareness about this disease.”
At the event, there will be a Promise Garden where walk participants will place different colored flowers in the garden at the walk’s conclusion to honor those with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, family and friends.
“Personally, aside from working with the Alzheimer’s Association for three years, my father had dementia and passed away from it. I want the community to know that the Alzheimer’s Association is here to help people going through it,” Johnston said.
Alzheimer’s is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death, according to the press release.
“The trajectory continues to climb of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, while other diseases decline,” Johnston said. “We are going to see a 46 percent increase of those diagnosed in the coming years. The stigma behind this disease is that you get it when you are old, but 200,000 under the age of 65 are diagnosed; research is important.”
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s research, care and support, according to the release. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through research, to provide and enhance care for all affected and to reduce risk through the promotion of brain health.
For more information about the association, visit alz.org or call 800-272-3900.
Day-of registration begins at 8 a.m., and the program begins at 9 a.m. The walk will start 30 minutes after.
In addition to the 3-mile walk, participants will enjoy music and a celebration at the downtown Gainesville square.
Participants are asked to wear purple, the cause’s brand color. Register for the walk or donate.