by Carol Higgins Taylor
Eastern Area Agency on Aging
Walking has been touted as one of the best exercises human beings can do. On Oct. 5, you can take a walk in Bangor for your health while helping Alzheimer’s Association continue its critical work.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a great way to increase awareness about the disease and raise much needed funds for the local services that directly benefit those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers.
“The money raised through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s helps support the 37,000 individuals and caregivers affected by the disease here in Maine,” said Kristie Miner, director of admissions at Kindred Westgate Bangor, and the Walk co-chair. “The walk is the largest fundraising event specifically dedicated to supporting the programs of the Alzheimer’s Association such as their 24 hour helpline, caregiver support groups, education and training programs, care management, public policy and advocacy, not to mention research aimed at finding a cause, cure, treatment and prevention of the disease.”
Eleven walks are scheduled around the state in September and October, with a fundraising goal of $500,000. The Eastern Maine Walk to End steps off at Hollywood Casino Raceway in Bangor on Oct. 5, and loops three miles around the west side of the city. Registration is at 8 a.m. in the building under the grandstand.
All who register will receive a brightly colored nylon flower on which to write a personal thought, a loved one’s name or something else meaningful to them. Walkers can choose a flower that symbolizes their relationship to Alzheimer’s. There are four colors to symbolize four unique situations.
• Blue flowers: “I have Alzheimer’s.”
• Yellow flowers: “I am supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.”
• Purple flowers: “I have lost someone to Alzheimer’s.”
• Orange flowers: “I support the cause and a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.”
These flowers become part of a beautiful garden known as the Promise Garden of hope.
“We are seeking people who are willing to share their stories of how Alzheimer’s has affected them,” said Miner. “If people reading this are willing to volunteer their time by sharing their experience and perhaps even participate in the opening ceremonies at the Eastern Maine Walk, please contact Jessica James, director of communications and advocacy at 772-0115.”
“The Promise Walk takes place on the half-mile racetrack and is an option that allows people with Alzheimer’s disease to more easily participate,” said Miner. “Wheelchairs and walkers can maneuver on the track better than they can on the sidewalks around Fairmount Park and down Main Street.”
I’m sure by now you cannot wait to join the fun. You can register as an individual, or think of a catchy name and pull a team together, then set a personal or team goal and get pledges from friends and family.
Walkers who raise $100 or more will earn a T-shirt. All participants will bring home their pinwheel Promise Flower to display in their own home garden.
Walkers can meet 4:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Pizza Hut on Bangor Mall Boulevard to share a little pre-walk camaraderie with other walkers and turn in donations. Aside from the obvious benefit of going to Pizza Hut, walkers will get their T-shirts and can avoid the hustle and bustle of turning in money at Saturday morning’s registration.
Same day registration is also available if you just can’t commit in advance to the walk.
For information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900, go to alz.org/maine or call Miner at 207-942-7336.
Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For information, call 207-941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, or go to EAAA.org.