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Walk to End Alzheimer’s has virtual and physical support options

by Daily Inter Lake
| September 15, 2020 12:00 AM

The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Flathead Valley residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s and all dementia by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Saturday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m.

The Kalispell Walk to End Alzheimer’s continues, but instead of hosting a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging participants to view the virtual opening ceremony at alz.org/walk and then gather to walk with family or in small groups on sidewalks, tracks and trails throughout the Flathead Valley and beyond.

“This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere,” said Wendy Vizek, vice president of constituent events at the Alzheimer’s Association. “The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the need to walk, This year, more than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia. With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”

Time-honored components of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s are being replicated. On Walk day, an opening ceremony will feature local speakers and a presentation of Promise Flowers to honor the personal reasons participants join together to fight Alzheimer’s and all other dementia, all delivered to participants' smartphones, tablets and computers. A small group of Alzheimer’s Association staff and volunteers will create the iconic Promise Garden in a “view only” format on Walk day at Depot Park in Kalispell to honor all those impacted by Alzheimer’s.

To enhance the participant experience leading up to the event and on Walk day, new features are being added to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app to create an opportunity for the community to connect. Participants can use the app and new “Walk Mainstage'' to track their steps and distance, follow a virtual Walk path, manage their Facebook fundraisers, and access information and resources from the Association and Walk sponsors to help individuals and families affected by the disease. A new audio track is available to encourage participants along the way and to congratulate them upon completion of their Walk.

“Alzheimer’s is not taking a hiatus during COVID-19 and neither are we,” said Lynn Mullowney Cabrera, executive director of the Montana Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. "We must continue Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and we are working with all participants to ensure they have a powerful and moving experience that is felt when we are together. Many of our constituents are at higher risk when it comes to COVID-19 and we know that our volunteers and participants appreciate our commitment to keeping all involved healthy and safe.”

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease — the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 16 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Montana alone, there are more than 22,000 people living with Alzheimer's and another 50,000 family members and friends providing their care.

To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org/walk or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.