PORTSMOUTH, OH – Residents from all over Scioto, Lawrence, Pike, Gallia, and Ross counties will converge at Shawnee State University this Saturday, October 23, for this year’s Southern Ohio Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
This year’s Walk will return to an in-person event and participants will also have the option to walk in their neighborhoods. The Promise Garden Ceremony begins at 10:45 a.m. and the Walk begins at 11 a.m.
Annemarie Barnett, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Cincinnati Chapter, said, the Chapter decided to move forward with plans to host the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s because meeting in person provides an exceptionally moving experience that can be accomplished with COVID restrictions. “The health and safety of participants, staff, and volunteers remain the Chapter’s top priority,” she said.
If individuals choose to walk from home, they can still engage in many Walk-day experiences through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app. At the Walk, participants will find a layout that allows for physical distancing, hand sanitizer stations, contactless registration, and more, Barnett said. Per CDC guidelines around crowded outdoor settings, the Association asks that all Walk attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask when in an overcrowded area. Masks will be available on-site.
“This year has been extremely stressful for all and that’s why our efforts to raise money for care and support for local families are so critical,” Barnett said. “The magic of the walk happens during our opening ceremonies when participants raise colored flowers representing the reason why they walk. During the raising of the Promise Garden flowers is THE time that everyone in attendance truly feels they are not alone in this journey,” she said.
This year’s Walk Committee leads are Rhonda Johnson, who is currently the Southern District Chairperson for the Ohio Occupational Therapy Association and is chair of the
Southern Ohio Walk; Jamie Williams, who is Adult Day Center Coordinator at United Scioto Senior Activities, who is this year’s Walk co-chair; and Rhonda Ross. Gold level sponsors for the Walk are Desco Federal Credit Union and Hill View Retirement Center. This year’s goal is to raise $30,000.
Money raised through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s allows the Association to provide all of its services for free. The Greater Cincinnati Chapter makes care and support available to 60,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease in the Chapter area and an additional 250,000 people affected through their role as caregivers.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive, fatal brain disease that kills nerve cells and tissues in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think, plan, speak, walk. Alzheimer’s is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. But according to the National Institute on Aging, recent estimates indicate Alzheimer’s disease may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for older people. In the state of Ohio, there are 220,000 individuals 65 years of age and older living with Alzheimer’s disease and 442,000 caregivers.
Shawnee State University is located at 940 Second St., Portsmouth. To register or donate to the Southern Ohio Walk, go to: alz.org/walk.