End Alzheimer's

More than 10,000 people gather at the Civic Center Bicentennial Park following the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Norman Veterans Center will host an inaugural walk Sept. 21.

Norman residents affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are encouraged to attend a demonstration of awareness, solidarity and support for a cure later this month.

The city’s inaugural Walk for Alzheimer’s Awareness will take place at 1 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Norman Veterans Center at 1776 E Robinson St. It’s the city’s first Alzheimer’s Association walk, as part of a national event held in many places throughout the country that raises money and awareness for the disease.

She said the walk will commence at the pavilion near the center’s pond. Candice McIntire, programs administrator at the Veteran Center, said the walk will commence at the pavilion near the pond at the center. She said the event was organized outside to allow for more attendees in an outdoor setting as a pandemic-related precaution.

“We will walk from our pavilion around our pond, and we have a lot of veterans who are coming out to join in the walk, as well as their families,” McIntire said.

While this is Norman’s first year participating, Jessica Hogner, walk manager for Alzheimer’s Association’s Oklahoma Chapter, said contributions from the Norman event will go toward the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Oklahoma City event in October. The Oklahoma City event consistently ranks in the top 30 for fundraising, she said.

Hogner said attendees are asked to wear purple, the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement. Participants will walk with a Promise Garden flower in one of three colors, which represents the stories behind their connection to the disease, she said.

The purple flower represents those who lost a loved one due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. The blue flower is carried by those living with the disease, and orange represents no current direct connection to the disease, but support for the mission to find a cure and better resources for those affected, McIntire said.

McIntire said those who wish to walk for a loved one can write their name on a flower and one of the provided pins.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 67,000 Oklahomans age 65+ have Alzheimers. That number is expected to reach 76,000 by 2025.

“We have veterans here at the center that suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia, so it’s extremely important for us to help the cause so they can find a cure for this horrible disease,” McIntire said.

McIntire said the disease takes from both the afflicted and their families.

“It’s an awful disease with no cure, which is why we are hosting the walk in support of raising awareness and raising funds to help find that cure,” she said.

Anyone who wishes to participate virtually may download the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app on their iPhone or Android.

Organizers ask those attending to reach out to Candice McIntire at 928-2807 or Candice.Mcintire@odva.ok.gov.

Jeff Elkins covers business, living and community stories for The Transcript. Reach him at jelkins@normantranscript.com or at @JeffElkins12 on Twitter.

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