Albany Downtown Manager Aaron Blair, second from left, stands with “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” coordinators at a news conference in Riverfront Park Wednesday. The walk will be taking place in the park on Oct. 15.
ALBANY — The Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter-Southwest Georgia Region is preparing for its largest fundraising event of the year.
On Wednesday, which happened to also be Alzheimer’s Action Day, officials announced publicly that plans are in place for the upcoming “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” event at Riverfront Park.
The event, which will consist of a three-mile walk, will take place on Oct. 15. There to speak on the plans for that day, as well as its significance, were Downtown Manager Aaron Blair, Southwest Georgia Alzheimer’s Association Outreach Director Dan Phillips as well as a few of the supporters and sponsors of the event.
“More and more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” Phillips said. “It is the sixth-leading cause of death, and of those in the top six, it is the only one without a cure — and risk goes up with age.”
Robin Giles, a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association, has been caring for her mother since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. There are many things she was able to do five years ago — baby-sit Giles’ children, call her daughter by her first name or do her own grocery shopping — that now have to be done for her.
Because of her mother’s condition, Giles has formed a team for the walk to help raise awareness — and funds — for the disease.
“The goal was to help my mother and raise funds for research to help others,” she said.
Officials in Southwest Georgia representing the Alzheimer’s Association say the region has raised $80,000 of its $125,000 goal this year so far with the help of its sponsors.
“This is great, but this money can be raised without sponsors,” Phillips said.
One of the sponsors is DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union. Becky Belcher, public relations director for DOCO, had a family member who was stricken with Alzheimer’s a few years ago.
“We encouraged our bosses to get involved,” she said. “We hope and encourage those not involved to get on a team or form a team.
“We don’t want our children and grandchildren to watch us go through this.”
There will be businesses in downtown Albany that will be donating a portion of their proceeds from that day as well as giving discounts to those who show up wearing an event wristband. A list of the participating businesses is being developed, Blair said.
Global Essence, the Pizza Shop and Verge are expected to be among those establishments.
On the day the walk is taking place, there is also a bicycle ride, known as the Jim Laue Memorial Ride, starting in the parking lot of Lee County High School — which is also held to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.
“We need to raise as much money as we can,” said Donna Laue, the ride’s coordinator.
Registration for the ride begins at 9 a.m. that day at a cost of $25, or $20 for those who pre-register. Registration for the walk begins at 9 a.m., with the event starting at 10 a.m.
More information on these events can be found at www.alz.org or by visiting “Jim Laue Memorial Ride” on Facebook.