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Flowers of Hope campaign supports Alzheimer’s walk

Messenger Post Media
messenger@messengerpostmedia.com
News 8 anchor Maureen McGuire and U.S. Rep. Joe Morelle, D-25th District, attend the Walk to End Alzheimer's.

The Alzheimer’s Association launched its Flowers of Hope campaign for residents of the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region to start raising funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Participants who raise $100 by Aug. 31 will receive surprise visits from local celebrities and community volunteers “planting” Promise Garden flowers on their driveways.

News 8 anchor Maureen McGuire, chair of the Rochester Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and former 13WHAM anchor Norma Holland Mann, a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association, are spearheading the campaign.

Walk volunteers David Gruszczynski, of Webster; Ron Martino of Spencerport; and Riesa Cassano and Patrick Sloan, of Pittsford, with support from Michel Cassagnol from the Knights of Columbus, are helping McGuire and Holland Mann spray-paint Promise Garden flowers on the driveways and sidewalks of the those participating in the campaign.

McGuire lost her father to Alzheimer’s dementia; Holland Mann lost her grandmother to dementia and her father-in-law to Alzheimer’s dementia.

“I joined the Walk to let my father know we are not giving up on his determination to find a cure,” McGuire said. “It was difficult to witness and live through my father’s disease. For every ounce of despair I felt, my participation in the Walk melted it away and made me feel I wasn’t alone. I continue to walk and raise money to help the incredible community of scientists find a treatment and a cure.”

“For many folks, myself included, Walk is about hope,” Holland Mann said. “We raise money and walk, because we are faithful and hopeful that there will be a cure in our lifetime.”

Every year on Walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia with blue, yellow, purple and orange Promise Garden flowers. These flowers highlight the different reasons for taking part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

The blue flower represents people like Bob Grabman, of Geneva; Jim Gulley, of Penfield; and Cynthia Huling Hummel, of Elmira, who are living with dementia. The yellow flower represents people like Maritza Buitrago, of Rochester; Ralph Olney, of Spencerport; and Laura Peirce, of West Bloomfield, who care for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s.

The purple flower represents people like Rose Carnegie, of Pine City; Bob Johnson, of Pittsford; and Sandy Tramacera, of Wayne County, who lost their loved ones to Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The orange flower represents people like Shelby Ascroft, of Canandaigua; Melanie Cerra, of Rochester; and Kevin Diehl. of Horseheads, who support the cause and the Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all dementia.

“With this colorful display of determination in our communities throughout this summer and on Walk day, I am confident that one day we will be able to add a flower to this garden. Funds raised at the Walk will help us find a cure and we will add a white flower to our Promise Garden to represent the first survivor of Alzheimer’s,” said Teresa Galbier, chapter executive, Alzheimer’s Association.

The Walk is scheduled for Oct. 3 in Canandaigua, Oct. 10 in Rochester and Oct. 17 in Elmira. Visit alz.org/walk to register.

The Promise Garden is planted for the Walk to End Alzheimer's in Canandaigua.