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Lewiston: Walk to End Alzheimer's fundraising event returns to Artpark

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Sat, Sep 23rd 2017 12:35 pm
Carla Marsh (third from right) and the Northgate Healthcare Walk team from 2016.
Carla Marsh (third from right) and the Northgate Healthcare Walk team from 2016.
More than 800 people of all ages, backgrounds and areas are expected to take part in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's in Lewiston on Saturday, Oct. 14. They will be drawn together by one common bond: In some way, they have all been touched by the heartbreak of Alzheimer's disease.
The event is organized by the Alzheimer's Association Western New York Chapter, a nonprofit agency offering education, resources, training and funding for research to help all those impacted by dementia across the region.
Alzheimer's is the leading cause of dementia, and cannot be prevented, slowed or cured. The association is the largest private American funder of research aimed at changing those facts. The walk is the largest fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Association, organized in 600 communities across the country.
Chapter staffers work with volunteer committee members from the Niagara County area who help plan the walk for several months before the event. Among them is Carla Marsh of Niagara Falls, a social worker at The McGuire Group's Northgate Healthcare Facility in North Tonawanda.
Marsh also leads the facility's fundraising team.
 "Every year I am amazed at how many people come out to support the event, especially the families who are caring for their own loved ones or have lost someone to Alzheimer's. Their stories are so inspiring!" she said.
Registered participants are given vinyl pinwheel flowers and can choose one of four colors that represent their reason for walking. Yellow indicates they provide care for someone with Alzheimer's; blue symbolizes those living with the disease; purple indicates they have lost someone they love to dementia; and orange represents general support for the association's mission to end Alzheimer's. Some participants choose to "plant" their flowers in the on-site "Promise Garden," often writing personal messages on them. The flowers are retrieved after the walk to take home as a keepsake of the experience.
The Northgate group was a top fundraising team for the Lewiston walk in 2016. Marsh said team members include co-workers and their friends and families, including 10-year-old Peighton Jasper, who has been fundraising and walking with the team for three years.
The Lewiston walk is set to take place at Artpark 450 S. Fourth St. The site opens at 9 a.m. with snacks and refreshments, photo area, entertainment and access to chapter information, as well as local vendors and basket and 50/50 raffles. A brief ceremony launches the walk at 10 a.m. Participants will head out on the approximately two-mile route at about 10:15 a.m. Additional entertainment, such as well-known cartoon characters and a "bubble brigade," will pop-up along the way, with more food when walkers return to the main site.
Individuals and teams can register, join a team or donate online at www.alz.org/WNY/walk, by calling 1-800-272-3900 or in person the morning of the walk.
The Walk to End Alzheimer's is made possible locally through the support of several local companies, including WDCX Radio. Morning show host Neil Boron was the 2016 walk chairman.
"Five years ago, when I first got involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer's, I had no idea how much the work of the Alzheimer's Association would mean to me personally," Boron said. "Now, when I walk and raise funds for education, research, support, respite care, etc., I am not only doing this for the millions affected by Alzheimer's and dementia, but for my own father, as well. I had hoped to be a blessing to this organization and to people and families affected by this horrendous disease, but the truth is my family and I are the ones who have been blessed."
Support for the Walk to End Alzheimer's also is provided by Newfane Nursing and Rehabilitation, Wheatfield Commons, Cellino and Barnes and Tim Hortons.

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