Tonawanda News — Living in the shoreline community of Wilson, Marjorie Clark found herself navigating some unfamiliar waters in 2008.
“We had so many questions ... Alzheimer’s disease was uncharted territory for us.” So Marge joined the complicated world inhabited by more than 22,000 other residents of Niagara County who provide some kind of direct care for a loved one with dementia. “I learned a close family member had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and we were all struggling to find answers. I got them when I went to a support group organized by the Western New York Alzheimer’s Association.”
The Williamsville-based Chapter provides educational and supportive resources across eight counties. It relies on Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Artpark in Lewiston as a major fundraiser to sustain those programs and to fund research into Alzheimer’s disease.
Marge and her team of family and friends, known as “The Wilson Waves”, will join hundreds of others in a show of strength, support and determination to ensure critical services for those with dementia and their caregivers will continue to be provided by the local chapter.
Alzheimer’s is an especially cruel disease, in the incredible toll it takes not only on the person who has it, but maybe even more so, on the family and loved ones who provide care,” says Marge. She also knows firsthand how necessary it is to raise funds during the Walk. “Our local chapter provides a multitude of resources ... the work they do is wonderful ... and the best way I can repay that kindness and help others is to participate in the walk.”
Marge says that although her life is no longer intimately affected by Alzheimer’s, “I will walk in memory of Betty, Red, Jack, James and Eldon. I walk to honor Ruth, Chuck, Peter and Sandy. And I will walk to support all those affected by this wretched disease.”
Registration for the Niagara County Walk to End Alzheimer’s is easy and fast online at alz.org/wny or by toll-free phone call to 1-800-272-3900. The route is approximately 2 miles long and is open to the public, who are encouraged to register as an individual, as a team, or to donate to someone else’s team.
Registered participants can earn prizes, including a T-shirt, and everyone who signs up by Saturday will receive a free vinyl pinwheel flower to “plant” in the on-site Promise Garden and “pick” after the walk to take home as a keepsake. The flowers come in four colors, which represent a reason to Walk: purple indicates the loss of a loved one to the disease; yellow denotes a caregiver; blue represents those with the disease; and orange symbolizes general support and advocacy for the association and its efforts.
Registration on Saturday at Artpark opens at 9: a.m.; the walk ceremony gets under way at 10 a.m.