‘We drove 10 hours’: Hundreds gather for Grand Rapids Walk to End Alzheimer’s
It is the first year that Ann Rubin and her family go not in support but in memory of their mother.
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – The gentle hills of Ah-Nab-Awen Park are covered in blue, orange, purple, and yellow pinwheel flowers. Each represents a journey in relation to Alzheimer’s disease.
The park is home to hundreds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The annual walk brings people together to raise funds and funds to research a cure and to provide support from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s affects more than 6 million Americans, and according to the Alzheimer’s Association, that number will more than double by 2050.
Ann Rubin drove up from Minneapolis to attend, and her brother Jeff was from Connecticut. Her family has taken the last six hikes and helped her mother Carolyn fight the disease. This year they ran in her memory.
“We always knew there would come a year when we would have to choose Lila,” says Ann as tears fill her eyes. Purple flowers represent a lost loved one. She hands her father Howard one that reads “Carolyn, for my love, I love you”. Ann’s flower simply says “Mom”. Howard and Carolyn would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year.
The Rubins raised more than $ 6,700, and the Grand Rapids Walk set a fundraising record for the year by exceeding the set target and raising more than $ 270,000.
This money enables research and support.
“Over 500 studies in 30 different countries,” said Elizabeth Stout, development director for the Greater Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Local self-help groups, local education, local engagement.”
Stout says the goal is to help at all stages of the battle against Alzheimer’s. The four colors of the flower garden represent those who have been diagnosed (blue), those with family or friends who are battling the disease (yellow), allies and supporters (orange), and those who have lost someone (purple). She says the goal is to one day add a white flower representing survivors of the disease.
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