This month held a very special event for The Heathers. We participated in our first Walk to End Alzheimer's®. Organized by the Alzheimer’s Association®, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s® reaches over 600 communities nationwide and focuses on bringing walkers together to find a cure for Alzheimer’s in a fun and supportive group event (Alzheimer’s Association®, 2022).
The Heathers joined over 90 other teams in the 2022 McHenry Walk on Sunday, October 22, 2022. In the opening ceremony, speaker Mary Gleason discussed knowing people with Alzheimer’s and how “it's hard to be with them and miss them at the same time.” She and other team leaders expressed their sentiments of hope and encouragement that one day no one will have to experience the loss that comes from this terrible disease.
Every participant in the Walk was asked to choose a flower that represented their role in the fight for a cure. These flowers were then “planted” in The Promise Garden for all to see, a visual representation of the power of our community. Of the colors, purple was for a person who had lost someone to the disease. Yellow was for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Blue was for someone who they themselves had some form of dementia. Orange was for walkers who may not have a personal connection but who support the cause of finding a cure. The hope is that one day the Promise Garden will host the first white flower, representing the first person to be cured of Alzheimer’s. As everyone who participates in the Walk knows, “these flowers have a lot of fight in them” (Alzheimer’s Association®, 2022).
The Walk itself took a beautiful course through Lippold Park where friends, family, team mates, and co-workers all walked together among the blazing fall colors. Dogs barked enthusiastically and cheerful conversation rang throughout the air. Asters, Goldenrod, and Queen Anne’s Lace dotted the path. There were also plants of milkweed pods, which many children had fun breaking open and spreading their fluffy seeds.
We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge several of our Care Partners who fundraised and participated in the Walk. A very heartfelt thank you to Claudia, Haley, and Haley H. for all their hard work. I got the chance to walk with Haley H. for some of the time and got to hear what this event meant to her. She reflected, “I'm happy to support the cause in honor of all the people I've loved and lost. It was a great walk, I enjoyed the day with family and friends .” Haley H was joined by her family who all participated in their very first 5k together. Thank you again to all of our Care Partners and their families who helped make this event special.