MUSCATINE, Iowa–Now entering its fourth year in Muscatine, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s has brought together people who care about supporting the Alzheimer’s Association’s work researching cures for Alzheimer’s and other dementias and providing support to people living with these diseases and their caretakers. Over the years, organizers and walkers alike have worked diligently to improve awareness and support and to adapt the walk to respond to the initial disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, walk organizers feel pleased to bring the walk back to a completely in person format and to continue to partner with Almost Friday Fest to get even more people involved in their largest event of the year.
As a fully in person event, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will include all of the communal celebrations walkers from past years have enjoyed. At the beginning of the walk, everyone involved will gather and listen to the stories of families and caregivers who have worked first hand with someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, sharing both the pain of the experience and the hope that continued research and outreach provides. Then, walkers will follow an easy course along the riverfront, showing their visible support for the Alzheimer’s Association’s work to find a cure and make Alzheimer’s a survivable disease. For the first time this year, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will also have a special ceremony for champion and elite champion fundraisers who raised at least $500 or $1,000, respectively.
Following the success of holding the Walk to End Alzheimer’s concurrently with Almost Friday Fest last fall, organizers decided to do so again this year. Additionally, they have used previous Almost Friday Fests to get people acquainted with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and encouraging them to sign up in advance. “The Keep Muscatine Beautiful team has been so supportive of our event,” shared Muscatine Walk to End Alzheimer’s organizer Megan Francis. “We have shared information about the walk and registered teams during the first events this year, and there is nothing better than enjoying music as we all walk together towards a world without Alzheimer’s.”
This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place Sept. 23, with check in starting at 4:30 p.m. and the opening ceremony starting at 5:30 p.m. The event will coincide with this year’s special Friday Fest, an add on event to the final Almost Friday Fest of the year. If you would like to participate in this year’s walk, you still have plenty of time to register online through the Alzheimer’s Association website. For those who feel a little unsure about how to raise at least the $100 needed to walk, Francis encourages them to visit the Muscatine Walk to End Alzheimer’s Facebook Group. So far, walkers have gotten about halfway to their fundraising goal of $30,000 and have until the end of the year to complete it.
Because Alzheimer’s and other dementias affect the lives of so many people, Francis urges everyone to consider getting involved this year, “I encourage everyone to get involved because whether you are directly impacted by the disease or not, someone close to you is,” she shared. “Every time I tell someone I am involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s or I share a social media post about our walk, or my fundraising, I hear a new story of someone close to me that has been impacted by Alzheimer’s.”