2016 Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease raises $10,000 for prevention and treatment

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Photo Gallery | 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease at Willow Park

BENNINGTON — Roughly 100 participants walked two miles and raised more than $10,000 Sunday to help fight Alzheimer's disease.

The Vermont Alzheimer's Association hosted its annual Walk to End Alzheimer's at Willow Park. Mary Thon, Alzheimer's Association development specialist talked about how she lost her mother to the disease at age 67. She reflected on the impact the disease has on surrounding loved ones, including the caregivers.

"In the United States today, more than 5 million people live with Alzheimer's disease and over 15 million individuals are serving as their unpaid caregivers. As the prevalence of this disease continues to grow, cost of care has escalated into the hundreds of billions and it's destroying families, finances and the future," Thon said. "I'm standing here today because I truly believe that the end of Alzheimer's starts with me."

Participants held up cloth flowers in unison. Blue flowers stood for the individual who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's; purple symbolized that the individual lost someone to the disease; yellow meant that the individual is a caregiver; and orange flower holders raised them up as supporters of the movement.

Eleven teams formed to raise money. Harry's Harriers had the most participants, 12, and raised the most — $1,675. Other teams were The Unforgettables, CLR Strutters, Southwestern Vermont Career Development Center, Vermont Tech Nursing Classes and many more.

Edward Jones served as the walk's national sponsor.

Alzheimer's is a form of dementia — a general term for memory loss. It occurs when plaques — protein fragment deposits — and tangles — twisted fibers of a protein called "tau" — build up inside cells. This happens in areas of the brain involved in memory and eventually spreads to the rest of the brain, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared November as National Alzheimer's Awareness Month and those who wish to support it should wear purple.

For more information visit www.alz.org/.

— Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.


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