The Walk to End Alzheimer’s
By Jenna Fariss, The Palisades at Broadmoor Park Retirement Community, Colorado Springs LIVING WELL Magazine
It was a beautiful, September morning in Colorado Springs and the sun was hitting Pike’s Peak as it glowed over America the Beautiful Park. As you looked around, you could see brightly colored tee-shirts representing organizations supporting the cause. Families were gathered wearing tee-shirts with a loved one’s picture on it representing another life that was lost due to Alzheimer’s. Balloons were scattered around the crowd and one would float to the sky every now and then. There was a huge arch of banners and once the announcement was made that the walk was about to begin, everyone scurried over to the starting point. It was official, the 2011 Walk to End Alzheimer’s had started. Peering from a distance, the large crowd of people looked like a colorful worm weaving in and out through the trees around the park.
Alzheimer’s disease is sadly, the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. Today, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. Nearly half of Americans 85 years and older have the disease. Most people survive an average of four to eight years after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but some live as long as 20 years with the disease. In Colorado alone, there were 965 teams walking hand in hand this year. Together, as a Colorado Springs community, $128,765 was raised to donate to research to help find a cure for this horrible disease. Since 1989, this all age, all-ability walk has mobilized millions to join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, raising more than $347 million for the cause. Events are held annually in the fall in nearly 600 communities nationwide. It is statistics like these that make us want to lace up our tennis shoes and walk.
The delicious smell of hot dogs filled the air as the walkers began to return from their journey. The tables and chairs quickly filled with hungry people. The band began to play louder to keep up with the increasing volume of the crowd. There were people of all ages and dogs of all sizes. There were tears of happiness to see the residents who attended laughing and enjoying themselves, almost as if they were taking a break from their disease. But there were also tears of sadness from loved ones past and present who can no longer walk, whom the disease has taken over.
I walked over to the stage and was dancing with a lady to a song by Elvis and she made the comment, “Boy, this Elvis sure puts on a good show. I’ve been dancing to him for years.” I couldn’t help but, smile and say, “Me too, Barbara.”
The Palisades at Broadmoor Park exceeded their goals this year both in walkers and funds raised. For information on The Palisades Retirement Community please call 719-226-2273.. For information on Alzheimer’s disease or to find the Alzheimer’s Association in your area, call 1-800-272-3900.