Fourth annual walk will raise funds to help end Alzheimer’s disease
LIVE WELL LECTURE SERIES: What’s New in Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Disease by Dr. Marwan N. Sabbagh, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas
When: 6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 15,
Where: Park City Hospital’s Blair Education Center, 900 Round Valley Drive at Quinn’s Junction
More than 58 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States according to the National Institute on Aging.
Patients with Alzheimer’s lose their memories and become empty shells of themselves, said Parkite Ray Freer.
He knows this because he cared for his wife Mary’s memory and motor skills deteriorate over a 12-year period, until she passed away in February.
Fellow Park City resident Debbie Morton also lost a handful of family members — her father, uncle and three second cousins to the disease.
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These losses of loved ones have spurred Freer and Morton to co-chair the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Summit/Wasatch County, Utah, that will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse, 1388 Center Drive at Kimball Junction.
Registration for the walk is now open by visiting act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2019/UT-Utah?pg=entry&fr_id=12231 and is available the day of at 9 a.m. the day of the walk.
People may choose to start a team of walkers, join a team or walk individually, to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Branch, according to Morton.
“The goal is to find a cure for the disease, but it is also to educate people about Alzheimer’s is,” she said.
The nearly two-mile walk, which will take between 45 minutes to an hour to complete, will follow the trail along S.R. 224 to the Wallin Barn and back, according to Morton.
“We encourage people to wear purple, and dress up in costumes,” she said. “The more flamboyant the better.”
Morton said dogs are also welcome to the event.
Fetch, a dog-rescue nonprofit, will provide a dog pool and treats, she said.
Even people who haven’t registered are invited to the event, said Nick Nickerson, the Park City resident who founded the Summit/Wasatch County walk four years ago.
“We want people to come down to see what we’re all about,” he said. “While Alzheimer’s disease is a downer, the walk is really fun. So I tell people the event is a fun time for a serious cause.”
Nickerson plans to lead a group of motorcyclists on a Wasatch Back Ride to End Alzheimer’s to complement the walkers that day.
The police-escorted 18-mile ride will start at the Fieldhouse and loop around Old Ranch Road to S.R. 224 before returning to the facility, according to Nickerson.
“What we want to do when we get to 224 is to stop and wave at the walkers, to raise more awareness,” he said.
Nickerson, who lost his mother to Alzheimer’s, said the ride will happen if at least 15 riders sign up. The Park City Police Department has set a cap of 50.
Motorcyclists interested in the ride can sign up by visiting act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2019/UT-Utah?team_id=564932&pg=team&fr_id=12231&fbclid=IwAR3rV0IisEuq4P4HYCFPnk_8ea06LUum1CQwLHySLKs5sfDziNavYdbtC7A.
“If we can get this launched this year, we may do a separate and longer ride event next year, or expand it as part of a walk component,” said Nickerson, who was involved with the Park City Motorcycle Club a few years ago. “If there isn’t enough interest, we’ll pull it this year and try again next year.”
Last year’s Summit/Wasatch County walk raised $105,000, Freer said.
“That was one-quarter of the total money raised by eight walks in Utah,” he said.
The money raised by the walks will go to Alzheimer’s disease research, Morton said.
“The research, which is continually trying to find a cure for this disease, is now also focusing on what we need to do before Alzheimer’s starts,” she said. “That makes a lot of sense to me.”
Some current suggestions to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s include regular cardio exercise, playing mentally stimulating games, sleeping well and having a balanced diet, Morton said.
These habits will be addressed in a free, pre-walk LiVe Well Lecture given by Dr. Marwan N. Sabbagh of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Morton said. The lecture starts at 6 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 15, at Park City Hospital’s Blair Education Center, 900 Round Valley Drive at Quinn’s Junction.
The talk was scheduled by Dr. Kelly Woodward, the head of the Park City Hospital’s LiVe Well Center, Freer said.
“Kelly asked if there was anything he could do for us, and it just so happened he already had Dr. Sabbagh lined up for a talk,” Freer said. “So this was pretty serendipitous.”
Nickerson said he is “delighted” to see the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Summit/Wasatch County grow over the past four years.
“I’ve always felt a walk would do well in this community, and by community, I also mean the whole Wasatch Back,” he said. “When you get something started and off the ground, you need it to become sustainable. So it’s been satisfying to see the team who came together for the first walk and then to have that same team in essence stay together and add fresh blood year after year.”
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