Almost 600 participants from the Finger Lakes region recently joined the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Canandaigua, raising more than $95,000 to fund dementia care, support and research programs.
“We couldn’t have done it without all the volunteers on our planning committee and our generous supporters,” said Alzheimer’s Association board member Ray Jacobi, who lost his mother and mother-in-law to dementia. “We would like to thank Shelby Ascroft, Megan Griffin Adams, Alice Berry, Norma Holland Mann, Jim Lindner, Judy Pastusec and Sandy Tramacera for their incredible efforts in helping us make the 2019 Finger Lakes Walk to End Alzheimer’s a success.”
The event united individuals who live 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.
Tramacera, a Wayne County resident, walked with her extended family in honor of her mother and mother-in-law.
“My family participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s not only to honor our loved ones, but also to support other families affected by the disease,” she said.
Tramacera became an Alzheimer’s Association advocate after her mother, Irma, died, seeking support from state legislators for public policies that improve the lives of individuals living with dementia and their family caregivers.
Lauren Snyder, of Penn Yan, walked with her daughter Bethany, sisters Debbie and Cindy, and her nieces and nephews in honor of her parents. Her mother, Arlene Richmond, died from Alzheimer’s dementia in 2014, then her father, Roger Richmond, in 2015 to dementia with Lewy bodies. Snyder and her husband cared for her parents at home for several years; however, Arlene and Roger eventually were admitted to a nursing home.
“My family walks to support critical research so that we can find a cure for this terrible disease,” Snyder said.
“Our extended family traveled to Canandaigua from Rochester and Newark, Wayne County,” said Mann, who chaired the volunteer planning committee. “We began participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in 2008, shortly after my father-in-law, Chuck Mann, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia. He passed away in 2018. Now, we continue to walk in his memory. For me, it is not just walking. It is getting together with people who share the same experiences. They make you feel like you are not alone.”
Area schools and colleges participated in the event, including top fundraising teams Sigma Kappa Theta Pi from SUNY Geneseo and cheerleaders from Fairport High School.
Participants completed a 1.2- or a 2.2-mile walk and learned about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, advocacy opportunities, and support programs and services from the Alzheimer’s Association. Fundraising for this event continues at alz.org/walk until Dec. 31.
More than 400,000 individuals live with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, and more than 1 million caregivers provide unpaid care to their loved ones in New York state.