By Nyesha Stone
Over 3,000 people came to Summer Fest grounds to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Milwaukee on September 17. Every year, the Alzheimer’s Association sets a goal to raise a certain amount of money to find a cure for the disease. This year’s goal is $1,166,500 and they’ve raised 71 percent so far, according to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s website.
It was a sea of purple in the audience as they all wore their Alzheimer’s shirts, which were handed to them after registration. Alzheimer’s ribbon color is purple, so it was only right to have that color shown throughout the event. Balloons, banners, shirts and whatever you could think of incorporated the color purple.
This is the 24th walk in Milwaukee and the third walk that was held at the Henry Maier Festival Park. It was expected to rain during the event, but, instead the sun was out and a slight warm breeze flowed through the air. Registration began at 8 a.m. and ran up until the opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m.
In between time, participants were given light refreshments and activities to partake in. There was an area titled “Purple Clubhouse” that included a selfie station, henna tattooing, face painting and another station for other fake tattoos.
Sigma Kappa member and volunteer Adrienne Cooper helped run the Purple Clubhouse. This was Cooper’s second time volunteering and third time walking for the cause.
“I do a lot of community service,” said Cooper. “This is just another aspect of it.”
Cooper’s sorority is one of the Alzheimer’s Associations’ partners. They helped fund raise for the event by raising $5,025, which is $3,000 over their original goal.
There was also a three-paneled black chalkboard that read “I walk because…” Participants were encouraged to write their reason for being there on the board.
Dave Grams, executive director of Alzheimer’s Association Southern Wisconsin Chapter, says this event takes all year to execute. The day of the walk is the day of celebration for all of the hard work it took to get to the event, and more, according to Grams.
“We’ve taken a step forward to create a world without Alzheimer’s,” said Grams.
And a world without Alzheimer’s is the goal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Four colored flowers were given to the participants to be raised during the promise garden ceremony. Each flower represents something connected to Alzheimer’s and as each color is called out during the ceremony, participants raise their flowers in the air.
The orange flower represents someone who supports the cause or vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. The yellow flower represents someone who is supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. The purple flower represents someone who has lost someone from Alzheimer’s. And the blue flower represents someone who currently has Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s has no known cure, it can’t be prevented, and it can’t be slowed down, but that didn’t stop those who attended the walk from celebrating the possibilities of finding a cure.
More than 5 million people in the U.S. our living with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association, its partners and those who care are fighting every day to finally live in a world without this disease.