Walk to End Alzheimer's on Saturday in Rehoboth
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter will hold its annual Walk to End Alzheimer's Saturday morning. This is part of the world's largest event that raises awareness for the disease and money for Alzheimer's care, research, and support.
A promise garden will fill Grove Park Saturday morning for the annual walk. Blue flowers are held by those living with the disease. Orange is for supporters of the cause. Purple represents a lost loved one.
Toni Stargell is a caregiver. She will be holding a yellow flower for the third year. "I have formed a team and it's called Lil's Angels," she says. "We walk for my grandmother who was diagnosed in 2011, Lillette Jenkins Wisner."
Toni wants to help others look out for the signs of Alzheimer's by sharing her grandmother's story. She says forgetfulness and losing things is common. "One of the big signs with my grandmother being a world-renowned concert pianist was I got calls, sometimes saying she was playing the same song twice."
The walk kicks off with a ceremony starting at 9 a.m. Walkers will carry their flowers on a three-mile journey through town and back. This is one of about 600 walks nationwide that stride to end the disease.
More than $96 million was raised from last year's walks. Money is raised so that researchers like Dr. Michael Gitcho can search for a cure. "There are five and a half million people living with the disease in the United States," says Gitcho. "Women are at higher risk. At age 65 there's a 1 in 5 chance of developing the disease. For men it's 1 and 11."
The Delaware State University Associate Professor carries a purple flower every year in remembrance of his mother. "She disappeared," he says. "She was there, you could look in her eyes but there was just no response."
Gitcho says his first grant for Alzheimer's research came from the Alzheimer's Association. "I have 500 graduate students that work towards understanding this terrible disease,"
Gitcho and the team from Delaware State University, Hornets for a Cause, will participate in the walk too.
This year about 632 participants making up 92 teams will walk in Rehoboth Beach.
For more information about the Alzheimer's Association, click here.