The annual Walk to End Alzheimers was held Sept. 21 on Union’s campus and started at Miller Tower. The walk lasted for about a mile and a half around campus.
“This is our fourth year to be involved in the local walk, which has been going on since 2007 in Jackson,” said Bryson McQuiston, owner of Home Instead Senior Care. “We are expecting to see over 500 walkers this year.”
The events are the largest fundraiser nationwide for the Alzheimer’s Association. A variety of agencies and community organizations from the West Tennessee area get involved to raise money for research.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States today.
Since 2007, more than $250,000 has been raised in Jackson alone. With that, the goal this year is to raise $80,000. All of the proceeds support the organization.
Participants signed up as a team, with one person registering as the team captain. Once a participant signs up, he seeks sponsors. There is no deadline, but organizers encourage people to sign up as soon as they can before the event takes place.
The money goes to the Alzheimers Association in Memphis and is used for support, education, research, and awareness of disease, McQuiston said.
“The Jackson community benefits from this by having things such as a hotline that is open 24/7, where ‘CAREGivers’ can give support, support groups, and teaching from the experts,” he said.
‘CAREGivers’ is an organization that deals with the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. The organization educates families about the disease.
The walk was started in Jackson when the Alzheimers Association in Memphis sought to have a more regional presence in the West Tennessee area. The company then contacted the Southwest Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability, which started the event. In the past, the walk has been held at Trinity Christian Academy, Pringles Park and Union.
“Union provides a visible central location with a great walk path,” McQuiston said. “The university has a reputation for supporting community events like the walk.”
The event is open to all ages.