HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Alzheimer’s Association annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s looks a little different this year.
“It’s our role and responsibility to help eradicate this disease by raising money,” said Beth Cardillo, volunteer and chair of the sponsorship committee.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s walk will take place with participants walking as individuals, families or small teams on their own instead of at a walk location.
At Armbrook Village in Westfield, residents and family members did their own walk around the facility.
“It’s important that people understand it,” Beth continued. “At this point I think that everybody knows somebody or knows somebody else who has a relative or a friend that has Alzheimer’s so we want to educate.”
Beth says they typically raise between $40,000 to $50,000 but this year they’ve raised a little more than half of that but they’re raising money through December.
Volunteers created a Promise Garden in Stanley Park with pictures of teams and decorations. Due to COVID-19 they’re asking people to view the Promise Garden from their car. The garden honors those who’ve died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Sadly, COVID affects this population, individuals with memory concerns, dementia and Alzheimer’s more so than some other populations and they’re very high risk so it’s even more important this year,” Allison Baker, planning committee event chair of the walk, told 22News.
The Alzheimer’s Association says the funds raised support the care, support and research programs of the association.
Meghan Lemay, Regional Manager of the Alzheimer’s Association in western Massachusetts told 22News, “Some of the education programs that we offer also are specific ones. So either about care giving. We have an upcoming education program about legal and financial planning.”
Former 22News anchor, Barry Kriger is the honorary chair of the 2020 walk and hosted their virtual opening ceremony Sunday morning.
A celebration virtual party will also be taking place on Tuesday, October, 27.