END Alzheimer’s walk surpasses goal

Sunday Spectator

Inaugural event raises local awareness

by Jason Jordan

NORTH HORNELL – Walk a mile in the shoes of someone living with Alzheimer’s Disease, those of his or her caregivers, or his or her friends and family. You will recognize sacrifice aimed at starving off a disease that effects millions of Americans.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and loss of other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases, according to figures from the Alzheimer’s Association.

On Saturday morning, local advocates spoke up and lent their voices to raise public awareness by hosting the first Hornell END Alzheimer’s walk. The event was sponsored by Elderwood at Hornell, a multi-service adult care and skilled nursing facility where staff sees the ravages of the disease on a daily basis.

Tracey Stillman, assistant administrator of guest relations at Elderwood, talked about why it was important to find local allies in the cause.

“There are people here with this disease, we see it every day…It’s great that family can come right here, do the walk, donate to help prevention, learn more about the disease, and just get together for a good cause,” she said.

Before the walk was established, the nearest major END Alzheimer’s walks were in Rochester and Elmira, presenting little opportunity for people to get involved locally. The walk was also aimed at raising awareness of services now available in the Hornell area.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is great. You can always contact them and get information about prevention and care,” Stallman said.

Lisa Cove, a director of the Rochester & Finger Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association thanked Elderwood and walkers for their enthusiastic participation.

“We runĀ  mostly on donations, so we are eternally grateful. I myself have lost too many family members to this disease and that’s how I got into this,” she said.

September and October are the prime months for the organization’s fundraising that supports research to slow down, prevent and make great strides toward curing the disease.

Cove said the organization is making major investments to find a cure.

“We’re the third-biggest funder of research in the world. We got beat out by the government of China and the U.S. Government,” she said.

Before the walk, large pinwheel flowers of purple, blue, orange, and yellow were handed out to participants, each with particular significance-purple for those who have lost a loved one to Alzheimer’s blue for those living with the disease, orange for caregivers, and yellow for the general supporters of the cause.

“Symbolically, it shows that we’re not alone. There’s a lot of people involved,” Cove said.

The goal for the event was to raise at least $1,000 in its inaugural campaign and by the time the walk kicked off at 10 a.m. they had surpassed that goal. The route for the walk was about three miles long, traversing much of the west end of the Village of North Hornell.