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Alzheimer’s advocates walk in remembrance, for a cure

Thousands of people gathered at Spirit Communications Park Saturday morning to walk for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease claiming many loved ones lives.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s has raised more than $140,000 of their $155,000 goal. Even after the event, groups and individuals are still able to raise funds for research, care and support and dementia reduction.

Local television personalities Judi Gatson and Joe Pinner emceed the event while USC’s Coach Dawn Staley threw out the first pitch with Cocky standing by. “Every step taken today is one step closer to a cure,” said Pinner. “Together we will end this disease.”

alz-walk-2016-2A symbolic gesture allowed participants to raise flowers in remembrance of loved ones or to show they are in support of the fight against the degenerative brain disease. Orange flowers waved as a symbol of those looking to end the disease. Purple flowers were in remembrance of loved ones lost while yellow flowers supported friends and families who lost someone, and blue ones were carried by those currently fighting the disease.

“Remember to care for and fight. These flowers are our reason to end Alzheimer’s,” said Gatson.

More than 1,400 participants and 150 teams were involved in this fight on Saturday and almost everyone had a story of why they are involved. Heather Burkett was one of many involved in the walk.

“I have been involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s from year to year for the past three years and look forward to more,” said Burkett.

Her great grandmother passed away from the brain disease so she continues to remember her at the walks while a cure still awaits. Prior to her grandmother being diagnosed, she has always had been intrigued.

“Since my adolescent years, I have been fascinated with knowing more about how people can become unfamiliar to who others are, even their own children,” she said. “From that point forward, I followed an educational experience studying psychology and specifically autobiographical memory and how memory deficits negatively impact memories.”

Now Burkett works at an assisted living and memory care facility helping other families who may be affected by Alzheimer’s. “My involvement with Alzheimer’s began at a very young age when I did not understand much about the disease; however, with our residents at HarborChase of Columbia, I have received an invaluable experience and fountain of knowledge.”

For more information about donating or to learn more about helping fight this disease, visit www.alz.org/sc/.

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