Walk to end Alzheimer’s in West Alabama

Lucy Phillips, Contributing Writer

This Sunday, Oct. 3, The Alzheimer’s Association is hosting The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. More than 440 participants will gather in Snow Hinton Park to raise money for the organization.

Each participant is encouraged to register for the free event ahead of Sunday. They will walk the 2-mile route at Snow Hinton Park and receive a promise flower to carry during the walk. The flowers represent their connection to the organization, including caregivers, family members who have lost someone to the disease, and those who are not personally affected. 

Sunday’s event, along with the seven other walks taking place in communities throughout Alabama, will fund support groups, caregivers and care centers. A large portion of the funds contribute to research. 

Many of the volunteers and staff that organize the event are personally invested in the cause, saturating Sunday’s activities with further significance and solidarity. 

Bailey Duke, a manager for the Tuscaloosa walk and staff member of the Alzheimer’s Association, got involved because he lost his grandfather to Alzheimer’s. He lost his other grandfather to Parkinson’s disease with dementia. 

“It’s a cause that’s really dear to me, and I’m glad to be a part of the staff that works across the state of Alabama for this,” Duke said. 

Staffers and participants have raised money throughout the past year using social media in anticipation of this weekend’s event.  The Walk to End Alzheimer’s has raised over $64,000 in the past year. 

The Alpha Omega chapter of Sigma Kappa at The University of Alabama supports Alzheimer’s research through its philanthropy. Sigma Kappa is this year’s biggest donor so far at more than $48,000. 

The Alzheimer’s Association is committed to hosting a safe event that adheres to COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. 

“This year, to make sure we have enough safety protocols, we will have masks and gloves on-site available for anyone. We will have COVID signage, keep social distancing, and all of our tents and tables will be spaced apart,” Duke said. 

The walk will have staggered start times to avoid large gatherings on the route. 

Those who are unable to attend the walk in person can participate from their own neighborhoods by walking down their streets in solidarity or donating online. They can follow along using the hashtags ​​#ENDALZ and #Walk2EndAlz.