The Eastside Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which was held virtually last year, returns to the Redmond Municipal Campus on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Participants will have the option to attend the in-person event or participate from home and walk in their own neighborhood.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Organizers hope to raise $140,000, which will help fund Alzheimer’s and dementia research, as well as local support services for people living with dementia and their families.
“We are very excited to offer an in-person option for the Walk this year,” says Jim Wilgus, executive director for the Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter. “It’s always so inspiring to see people come together as a community, to honor their loved ones and support one another.”
Festivities begin at 9:30 am when participants will have an opportunity to meet with sponsors and exhibitors, learn about local resources and grab a quick snack before the event starts. They can also pick up and personalize their Promise Garden flower prior to the opening ceremony, which starts at 10:30 am.
During the opening ceremony, participants are asked to raise their Promise Garden flowers in the air and make a promise to remember, honor, care and fight for all those impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia. The color of a person’s flower represents their connection to the disease: blue for those living with dementia, yellow for caregivers, purple for those who have lost a loved one and orange for people who walk in support of all those affected.
“The Promise Garden is a well-loved feature of every Walk to End Alzheimer’s event,” says Wilgus. “It’s very powerful to see all of those colorful flowers, each held by someone who’s committed to the cause. There’s a real sense of hope that, together, we will find a way to end this devastating disease.”
The Promise Garden is also a prominent feature of the “Walk From Home” option. Using the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app, people can select the flower that represents their connection to the disease, personalize it with a heartfelt message and plant it in an augmented reality Promise Garden. They can also watch a pre-recorded Opening Ceremony, set a walking distance goal and track their progress as they walk. The app even features an augmented reality finish line.
“One of our mottos this year is, ‘Where there’s a Walk, there’s a way,’” says Wilgus. “We understand some people may not feel comfortable attending the walk in-person, so we’ve created some fun, interactive ways for them to participate online and walk in their own neighborhood.”
Organizers say they are monitoring federal, state and local public health guidelines to ensure the event adheres to recommendations and is safe for attendees. Participants can expect new safety measures at this year’s in-person event including contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and physical distancing. Per CDC guidelines, the Alzheimer’s Association is also asking that all attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask when in overcrowded areas.
The in-person event is family and pet-friendly and the walk route is fully accessible. No matter how you participate, the event is free; however, people who donate or raise $100 or more will receive a 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s t-shirt in the mail after the walk.
For questions about the Eastside Walk to End Alzheimer’s, please contact Kimber Behrends, Walk Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-529-3865. To register, visit alz.org/walk or call 1-800-272-3900.