Hundreds walk to fight Alzheimer’sPublished 10:54pm Saturday, September 22, 2012
Constant’s Wharf was a sea of purple, yellow, orange and blue flowers during the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday.Notte
Participants selected a color based on their connection to the debilitating disease. Members of the Kent family carried yellow flowers to signify they are supporting someone with the disease.
“She was diagnosed in 2004,” Julie Kent said of her mother, Maggie. The family members wore photos of Maggie on the backs of their T-shirts.
“Two years ago, we had to put her in a nursing home,” Kent continued. “She’s in the end stages now. My sister and I go every day to see her.”
Nearly 300 people turned out for the walk, which took participants from Constant’s Wharf along North Main Street.
“This was the first walk of the season, and it was phenomenal,” said Gino Colombara, president of the Southeastern Virginia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather.”
Alzheimer’s is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. About 5.4 million people currently live with it.
Other people walked with blue flowers to signify they have Alzheimer’s, purple flowers to signify they have lost someone to the disease, and orange flowers to indicate they are advocates.
The flowers were “planted” in a Promise Garden at the wharf.
Colombara also stressed the need for increased government funding of research for Alzheimer’s, especially with the Baby Boomer generation aging.
“We have a tidal wave of Baby Boomers,” he said.
About $200 billion is spent in care for Alzheimer’s disease, while only about $500 million is spent in research, showing another funding gap, he said. If more cases can be prevented or delayed through research, there will be less need for care.
“If we can delay the onset or stop the progression for five years, we will make great strides,” he said.
For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, visit www.alz.org/seva.