Tim Kerns got involved with the Alzheimer’s Association in 1999, after his mother was diagnosed with the disease. He organized a team of four to join him in the 1999 Memory Walk, but Team Turtle has grown exponentially over the last five years.
“There are about 60 people from my company who will be in the Fairfax walk,” said Kerns, an employee of TerpSys.
Hundreds of people are expected to join the Alzheimer’s Association for its Memory Walk on Saturday, Oct. 2, on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University. The Memory Walk is an annual event to raise funds to help those affected by Alzheimer’s, as well as to promote greater awareness of the disease.
According to Gina Fitzgerald, who is in charge of public relations for the association’s National Capital Area chapter, anywhere between 500 and 700 people are expected to participate in the walk.
“There will be food, face-painting, balloons, and a DJ from WASH-FM will provide the music,” said Fitzgerald.
“It is a great way for the community to join hands, because we need to work together to find solutions," said Linda Crouch, the Alzheimer's Association's manager of special events.
When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, said Crouch, the whole family is affected. “The Memory Walk is a great way to honor the folks we know and love,” she said.
Approximately $150 million has been raised thus far through walks for Alzheimer’s disease nationwide. That money is used to provide services to those affected by the disease and to fund further research on finding a cure. The Memory Walk takes place in 680 communities across the country.
“I think that Alzheimer’s is getting more press these days, especially after [former President Ronald] Reagan’s death," said Kerns.
About 4.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In Northern Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and suburban Maryland, nearly 450,000 have been diagnosed with the disease.
The registration for Saturday's walk begins at 8:30 a.m., with the walk beginning at 10 a.m. The participants are sponsored through a flat donation, made in their name by friends and family. They may choose to walk a 1-mile or a 5-mile distance. To register or to make a donation, visit http://ncamemorywalk.kinter.org, or call 1-800-728-9255. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.alz.org, or call 1-800-272-3900.