CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – A large crowd gathered for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday morning at the Chesterfield Amphitheater, despite chilly weather.
It’s an event filled with hope, unity, and commitment to raising awareness about the disease.
“We have a great turnout,” volunteer Amy Wheeler said. “We were a little nervous with the weather and how cold it is, but we’re so glad that everyone came out to just be together and enjoy this wonderful event.”
Dasha Kuzmina O’Grady and her 8-year-old daughter were two of more than 3,000 people participating in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s for the St. Louis Chapter.
“We have two people in our family that passed away in the last couple of years from dementia, so that’s why we’re here,” Kuzmina O’Grady said.
Her daughter, Ellie O’Grady, showed up ready to support the cause, bundled up in her purple coat, gloves, and hat. She may only be in second grade, but she was excited to show her support and share what she’s learned so far.
“Be grateful for everybody and be thankful for what you have,” O’Grady said.
More than 6 million people have Alzheimer’s in the U.S. The City of St. Louis has the highest rate of Alzheimer’s dementia cases in the State of Missouri.
About 13 percent of people 65 and older have the disease, according to a recent Alzheimer’s Association report. It seems like everyone knows someone who has been impacted.
“My Uncle Warren Powers passed away from Alzheimer’s just about two years ago,” Wheeler said. “It’ll be two years in November, so it’s very close to my family’s heart, so we’re out here just trying to support the cause.”
At the Promise Garden Ceremony held before the walk, each person held up a flower. Each color represents how Alzheimer’s impacts each participant uniquely. Each person with a purple flower has lost a loved one to the disease. Blue signifies you’re living with Alzheimer’s. Yellow represents caregivers. Orange means you support the Alzheimer’s Association. However, there was only one white flower held up, which symbolizes the hope we will someday have a cure for Alzheimer’s.
“We all hope to all be holding white flowers one day and have a cure for this devastating disease,” Wheeler said.
FOX 2 proudly sponsored the event. Tim Ezell emceed the opening and Promise Garden Ceremonies.
“The money we raise helps the Alzheimer’s Association continue to provide critical care and support services,” he said.
Their goal was to raise around $1.3 million. To learn more or make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, click here.