TIFTON — The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for Oct. 19. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College track. A ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. and the walk starts at 10:30 a.m.
“The walk is our signature fund raising event,” said walk organizer Dan Phillips. “They happen all across the state of Georgia in the fall. The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest private funder of research into Alzheimers, so that where part of the money goes. We are also a care and support organization.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It eventually leads to an inability to carry out even simple tasks. The condition currently has no cure.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s raises funds that go towards research aimed at finding a cure.
Phillips said that the organization works to provide support for the 150,000 Georgians living with Alzheimers and their caregivers, including a 24/7 helpline for caregivers.
“You can call 1-800-272-3900 and reach a trained counselor who can get you through your crisis,” said Phillips.
Phillips said that every patient with Alzheimer’s reacts differently, and that each walk participant has their own story to tell.
“At the opening ceremony we highlight promise garden flowers,” Phillips said. “There are four colors and each represents a reason to walk.”
Orange flowers represent those participating who have no personal tie to Alzheimer’s, but understand the seriousness of it and the need for a cure. Blue flowers are for those who have been diagnosed with the disease, while yellow is for those who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. The purple flowers are for participants who have lost someone to Alzheimers. Phillips said that at the end of the ceremony, they will bring out a white flower, which represents the future first survivor.
“That’s what we’re all out there for,” Phillips said. “The flowers show that we’re all out there for the same reason, but we all have different stories.”
One story is Kristin King’s story. For her, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, is about honoring her father, Fred Horne, who lost his battle to Alzheimer’s in 2017.
King worked for her dad for 28 years.
“He taught me everything I know,” King said in a press release. “He was personable, friendly and an outgoing person whom everyone loved that came in contact with him. I miss seeing him everyday at work and miss getting advice from him, whether it be business or personal. I took for granted I could talk to him anytime I wanted and see him everyday… now that he is gone, I miss seeing his smile, hearing his words of wisdom and experiencing his kind heart. My dad was truly an inspiration to me and others.”
Since her father’s diagnosis at the age of 60, King and her family have participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Tifton. Last year, she was the top fundraiser for the Tifton Walk. Not only is she raising money for the Walk, but her ultimate goal is to raise awareness and erase the stigma behind Alzheimer’s disease.
Tifton’s walk has 143 participants registered across 34 teams. Donations may be given to teams or individual walkers through the Walk To End Alzheimer’s website at https://act.alz.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=walk_homepage.