Annual event takes place Saturday in Park Hills’ Columbia Park
As part of a national awareness walk the Alzheimer’s Association holds in the fall of the year, the 2023 Mineral Area “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” will take place Saturday in Park Hills’ Columbia Park.
Registration, which is free, begins at 8 a.m., with the walk starting at 9:30.
“Come out and enjoy the day,” invited Matt Bergmann, Walk Director for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Missouri Chapter. “At nine o’clock, our opening ceremony starts. It will last 10 to 15 minutes, and then you can walk around the park. Stay as long as you like; we’ll have some food, snacks, and drinks. The walk doesn’t take up your whole morning or anything, and you should be out of there by 11. You can still spend the rest of the day with your family or do anything else you want to do.”
According to Bergmann, the organization aims to have 30,000 participate in the local event.
“We’re about 50% of the way there, and this is the week we’re really picking up,” he said. “You don’t have to fundraise to come. We, of course, appreciate it if you can. You can register at the walk or online anytime, and we fundraise all the way through Dec. 31.”
The Alzheimer’s Association website states, “The mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support.”
Bergmann recalled that he first became involved with the Alzheimer’s Association six years ago.
“I lost my grandmother when I was 14 or 15 years old,” he said. “So, with the impact on my family, I told myself that if I could ever do anything to stop Alzheimer’s and dementia, I would. In 2017, the opportunity presented itself for me to become a walk manager, and I took that opportunity. I’ve been here since 2017, trying to find a cure.”
Because the association offers support through classes, counseling, and other resources, Bergmann encourages caregivers, those who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, as well as the general public to take advantage of the free resources available to them.
“The only part of Missouri [the Greater Missouri Chapter] doesn’t cover is Kansas City, he said. “If anyone who needs support wants to call the chapter, that number is 314-801-0429. Or they can call the 24-hour helpline number if they need anything, day or night. That number is 800-272-3900.”
• Everyone, even kids, who participate in the walk must register. Standard waivers are signed at registration – parents sign waivers for their children.
• Strollers are allowed, and well-behaved dogs who are always leashed are welcome. Skateboards, bicycles, inline skates, and wheelie footwear are discouraged.
• If the weather is severe, the walk will be canceled, and notifications will be posted on the local walk website on or before the morning of the event. Rain will not stop the walk.
• The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Bergmann said funds raised at the local walk get split between global research, support of local families, and care of local families.
• Everyone who registers for the walk will receive a Promise Garden flower.
The Alzheimer’s Association website describes The Promise Garden as “a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden Flowers represent participants’ connection to Alzheimer’s — their reasons to end the disease.” Walk participants are encouraged “to choose the color flower that best represents your connection to the disease.”
• Blue represents someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
• Purple is for those who have lost someone to the disease.
• Yellow represents a person currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
• Orange is for those who support the cause and the association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
To pre-register or for more information about the local walk, go to https://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2023/MO-GreaterMissouri?fr_id=16669&pg=entry in your web browser. Bergmann can be reached by phone at 636-541-4991 or by email at email@example.com. For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association or to learn about walks going on in other areas of the country, go to https://www.alz.org/
Those unable to participate in the walk who want to donate or volunteer their time are asked to contact Bergmann or visit the local walk website for additional information.
Jeannie Barton-Northrup is a staff writer for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.