By Marianne Mueller, REPORTER

Shades of purple could be seen everywhere on the grounds of Martin Park in Loves Park on Saturday morning. Sept. 17 during the Walk to End Alzheimer's

Shades of purple could be seen everywhere on the grounds of Martin Park in Loves Park on Saturday morning. Sept. 17 during the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Hundreds prepared to walk two miles in hopes that one day a cure will be found for Alzheimer’s disease. Some walked in memory of someone who has passed away from Alzheimer’s. Others walked in honor of someone who is living with the disease. Special photographs, t-shirts or original-style memorials displayed extra support. Sponsors and supporters greeted walkers under tents. Startling statistics show that every 69 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million Americans. Memory loss, thinking and behavioral changes are all related symptoms. Over time as Alzheimer’s progresses the effects of struggles in everyday living become more evident. Dan Cohen of Channel 13, WREX served as the Master of Ceremonies. Cohen gave a warm welcome. “We are here today making research, care and advocacy possible in taking a step closer to a world without Alzheimer’s,” said Cohen. “Twelve years ago we lost my grandfather who had Alzheimer’s for eight years. Today we walk in memory of those we care for.” Cohen recognized the day’s sponsors and the walk plan committee. Once again Lu Ann Groh raised $4,700 earning her a spot as this year’s top individual fundraiser.  The “Walk with Me” team came in as the top fundraising team with a total of $5,600. The Hononegah Tri M Music Honors Society Chapter #2799 was among one of the teams who participated.  Together they collected $1,640 bypassing their original fundraising goals. “We are a community. We cannot put an end to Alzheimer’s without everyone who is here. Together we are going to put an end to Alzheimer’s disease,” said President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Erna Colburn. Dan Cohen instructed everyone to raise flowers over their heads in honor of/or in remembrance of all those living with Alzheimer’s. This created a truly stunning sight. Flower pinwheels each carry a special meaning.  Blue flowers represent people who have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Purple is for a walker who has lost someone to Alzheimer’s. Caregivers are identified with yellow and orange signifies supporters. Each color was held up high by individuals fitting into each category. Before heading out Rachel from Fit Me Wellness warmed up the crowd. Lutheran Cheerleaders kept the spirits up at the start and finish lines. Flowers were lovingly planted forming into a beautiful promise garden. Each flower stands for a promise to remember, to care and to fight. This year’s Alzheimer’s Walk netted a total of $68,000. Donations are still being accepted to help reach a goal of $100,000. Money will be used toward raising awareness, education and programs. Go to to help the Alzheimer’s Association take a step further in wiping out this disease!



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