Walking to end a devastating disease

By Ryan Berry

DailyAdvocate.com

GREENVILLE – Several dozen people with an interest in a disease that has ravaged communities and devasted families descended on Greenville City Park on Saturday. They all shared a common goal of supporting those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers and eradicating the disease. The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the City of Greenville has a goal of $23,000 and has raised over $15,600 so far this year.

Donations are still being accepted for this year’s walk by texting 2EndAlz to 51555 or visit www.alz.org for more information.

Why is this walk and the funds raised important? According to Jennifer Overholser, spokesperson for the local walk committee, over six million people in the United State are affected by the disease. In Ohio, that number stands at over 220,000 people. There are also 11 million unpaid caregivers throughout the nation. Overholser said, “As the prevalence of this disease continues to grow, the cost of care is escalating into the hundreds of millions. Alzheimer’s is destroying our families, finances, and our future. It’s time to end Alzheimer’s.”

Funds raised provide critical care, support services and help fund promising studies. Over $300 million has been given to 925 projects in 45 countries on six continents. “One day we will end this disease and we’ll do it together,” she said.

Overholser shared why she is walking and supporting this effort, “Myself, working at EverHeart Hospice, many of the patients and families we care for are fighting this disease. That’s what inspired me to be here today. Together we can end Alzheimer’s.”

The local walk recognized some of the individuals and teams that are leading the way in raising funds. Jenni Schlater has thus far raised the most funds individually by contributing $1,830. All American Clothing Company has raised over $2,900 and Village Green has raised nearly $1,500.

Prior to the walk, local organizers held a flower ceremony. The color of the pinwheel flower was significant. Those holding the orange flower walked to support the Alzheimer’s Association goal of a world without Alzheimer’s and dementia. Walkers carrying a purple flower have been directly affected by the disease and have lost a loved to Alzheimer’s or dementia. The yellow flower represented people that have or are currently serving as caregivers. There were also a few people carrying a blue flower. Those individuals are currently fighting the disease.

A singular white flower was also present and led the way for the walk. According to Overholser, this flower represents the first person to survive the disease. “Wouldn’t that white flower be an incredible addition to our garden?” she asked.

Overholser concluded by stating, “Alzheimer’s is not going to back down and neither should we.”

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected]