by Carol Higgins Taylor
Special to The Weekly
Walking is a great way to exercise but what’s even better is walking for a good cause. Now, take a good hard look at your walking shoes. Given all the “back to school” fliers, it seems like now is the best time to take advantage of sales, treat your feet and buy new sneakers. Then you can break them in as you put your best foot forward for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, Sept. 13.
But more than the basis for a fun-filled day of shopping, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a great way to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s while raising much needed funds for the local services that directly benefit people with the disease, their families and caregivers.
“Funds raised through Walk to End Alzheimer’s help support the 37,000 individuals and caregivers affected by the disease here in Maine,” said Kristie Miner, director of admissions and marketing at Westgate Center for Rehabilitation and Alzheimer’s Care, Bangor, and Walk outreach chairwoman. “The walk is the largest fundraising event specifically dedicated to supporting the programs of the Alzheimer’s Association, such as their 24-hour help line, 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.”
Everyone in Maine can participate in one of the walks prettily easily because there are eight walks around the state scheduled for various dates in September. There is a total fundraising goal of $630,000.
The Eastern Maine three-mile walk will step off at Hollywood Casino Raceway in Bangor. Registration is at 8 a.m. in the building under the grandstand.
“We look forward to hosting participants from all over Eastern Maine,” said Miner. “Even if people can’t walk three miles, they can do a half-mile on the track, or simply come to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, research and advocacy. We hope that people will make the Walk to End Alzheimer’s their destination when they come to Bangor on September 13.”
There are approximately 37,000 families in Maine who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
“Walkers can enjoy more than just walking and shopping in the Queen City, they will receive special discounts to attend the production of “Honky Tonk Angels” at Penobscot Theatre Company and for meals at either of Hollywood Casino’s two restaurants.”
Participants can have team photos taken by Northstar Photography, a Zumba warm up with Sunshine, music spun by DJ Paul Wolfe and a special tribute to those who have experienced or are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease.
Walkers and their supporters are invited to a post Walk party at Seasons Grille and Lounge where 10 percent of food purchases will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
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 that raise $100 or more will earn a T-shirt.
If you are currently undecided, you may also register the day of the walk.
For information, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900, go to alz.org/maine or call Kristie Miner at 942-7336.
Carol Higgins Taylor is an advocate for seniors and owns a public relations firm in Bangor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.