LUMBERTON — Hundreds of people will take a walk to remember Saturday during the 19th annual Alzheimer’s Walk at Luther Britt Park, an event to raise awareness for the debilitating disease and money to fight it.
The event, which will be held from 8:30 to noon, will include entertainment.
According to Mary Scott, chairperson for the event, participation is free and walkers can walk as far as they want. Walkers are encouraged to raise at least $25 through their own donation or pledges.
“There is no minimum and no maximum,” Scott said. “Even if they take five steps, they’re walking for Alzheimer’s.”
The Robeson County branch of Alzheimer’s North Carolina has established a goal of raising $10,000 for the event this year. Last year’s walk raised $9,800.
Scott said that all of the money raised will stay in North Carolina to provide education, support and services for those with dementia, training for non-medical caregivers, and to fund research.
“Every penny counts, it may be that one penny that helps us find the cure,” Scott said.
But Scott said the most important part of the walk is raising awareness for the disease.
“The goal is to bring awareness of Alzheimer’s to the community,” Scott said. “Robeson County alone has 1,800 people who have been diagnosed with the disease and many more that haven’t because they believe memory loss is a normal part of aging, which it is not.”
Alzheimer’s is a debilitating and progressive disease that slowly destroys the brain, robbing a person of memory, judgment and the ability to communicate, usually causing death anywhere from two to more than 20 years after diagnosis. There is no cure, although treatments exist to slow its progress.
Scott has been the chairperson of the event since it began in 1994, when she was the manager of the Alzheimer’s unit at Woodhaven Nursing Center.
Scott said that about 300 people have registered for the event, which will feature two honorary co-chairs, Christian singer Victoria Huggins of St. Pauls and Dr. Benny Bahr, a scientist in Alzheimer’s research. Huggins and singer Elaine McGirt will perform at the event and the Happy Feet Line Dancers from Southeastern Lifestyle Fitness Center, led by Helen Crenshaw, will perform after the walk.
The forecast for Saturday is sunny with a high of 74, but in the event of rain, the walk will be held at Biggs Park Mall.
Anyone with questions about the walk or the Alzheimer’s North Carolina organization can contact Scott at (910) 737-3146 or by email at Scott03@srmc.org.