Alzheimer’s walk raises awareness, money


JASPER — Saturday morning, the Tri-County Walk to End Alzheimer’s will bring people from across southern Indiana to Jasper.

This year’s goal? To raise $75,000 for Alzheimer’s-related causes.

Kelly Sturgeon, walk manager for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater Kentucky & Southern Indiana Chapter, explained that the event has been an annual fixture in the region for 12 years. Between 350 and 400 people are estimated to raise money for this weekend’s iteration of the walk. This includes people from Dubois County, Washington, Vincennes, Evansville, Tell City, Paoli and Salem, as well as out-of-state fundraisers who won’t be in attendance for the event.

“The reason so many people participate is they really want to see a world without Alzheimer’s,” Sturgeon wrote in an email. “This disease touches so many people, and it is very devastating, so the community works together to raise funds and awareness in order to one day say Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are no longer affecting our lives.”

Registration is free and will begin at 9 a.m. at the Jasper Riverwalk. The roughly two-mile walk will commence an hour later. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Sturgeon’s grandmother, Rose Nell, was diagnosed with the disease in the mid-1990s. Sturgeon can remember how her grandma’s personality slowly slipped away, and eventually, she couldn’t recognize her family.

“The hardest part of the disease is watching a loved one lose their identity and not being able to help them remember their memories, their favorite hobbies and enjoy being with their loved ones,” Sturgeon wrote. “It has left an impact on me, and I want to help other families and individuals who are going through the same journey.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 145 percent.

Last year’s walk raised $66,691. Sturgeon explained those funds raised are used for educational programs, services like a free helpline and online programs, as well as research across the country.

She said that money is raised in a variety of ways, including online on websites like Facebook, as well as through in-person collection avenues at workplaces and other community events.

According to the National Weather Service, Jasper will be mostly sunny on Saturday, with a high of 76 degrees.

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