More than 1,600 participants defied the rain to join the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s and raise over $280,000 to fund dementia care, support and research programs.
The event brought together individuals living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, their care partners and friends, and families that lost their loved ones to dementia. Participants spotlighted the disease that cannot be cured, prevented or even slowed, and raised funds to advance dementia research.
Sue Ras, of Brockport, walked in memory of her husband, Jim, and raised more than $7,800. Jim Ras was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia when he was in his early 70s. Sue retired to care for him. After losing her husband in 2015, Sue made it her life’s mission to educate people about the impact of dementia on families.
“Today, 50 million people are living with dementia worldwide,” she said. “I walked to help drive research toward a treatment and, ultimately, a cure.”
This was the first Walk to End Alzheimer’s for Jessica Krueger, of Rush.
“My mom lives with a younger-onset Alzheimer’s,” she said. “I often reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline. I also attend a support group for caregivers. The advice and encouragement I receive is amazing. I don’t feel alone anymore.”
Krueger walked with her father Jim Walter, who cared for his wife, Becky, for six years at home. This summer, her disease progressed and she was admitted to a memory care facility.
U.S. Rep. Joe Morelle, D-25th District, and Assemblyman Harry Bronson, D-138th District, attended the event. Teresa Galbier, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes Region, thanked the elected officials for supporting the Alzheimer’s cause in Congress and state Legislature.
“Alzheimer’s is a growing public health crisis for our families and the economy,” she said. “Our federal government must address the challenges the disease poses and take bold action to confront this urgent crisis.”
Morelle reiterated his support for a $350 million increase in funding for dementia research at the National Institutes of Health for fiscal year 2020. Fundraising for this event will continue until Dec. 31.