BENTON STEPHENS: Walk to End to Alzheimer's to be held Sunday at Stephens Lake Park

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | 12:13 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Walk to End Alzheimer's will be held Sunday at Stephens Lake Park.

The walk is part of "the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support and research," according to the website for the Alzheimer's Association's Mid-Missouri chapter,

Marissa Todd, the chapter's development director, said three walks are available:

  • A .6-mile loop is available for those who want a shorter distance.
  • A 1.7-mile walk around Stephens Lake is the standard walk and starts at 1 p.m.
  • A 5K run is offered for a $25 fee and goes through the Country Club neighborhood. 

Participants are encouraged, but not required, to raise money prior to the event.

Check-in will begin at 11 a.m. for those who have registered online, Todd said.

Those who haven't registered will be directed to an area where they can sign up, Todd said. There will be refreshments, music and information on the Alzheimer's Association during the check-in and registration period.

At the "Promise Garden" opening ceremony at 12:40 p.m., Todd said each person who registered will receive a color-coded flower to indicate the relationship to Alzheimer's disease, whether directly or through a friend or member of the family who suffers from it. 

Todd said the chapter's goal for the Columbia walk is to raise $64,000 for the association's services in the mid-Missouri chapter, which covers 29 counties. These services include support groups, 24-hour hotlines and education programs.

“We are already more than halfway to our goal, and we usually take in half of the money on walk days, so I’m pretty confident we’re going to reach our goal,” Todd said. 

Columbia's event is the last of five walks in the mid-Missouri area this fall, Todd said. Walks like these have been scheduled since the 1980s, she said, but this is the first year it has been called the Walk to End Alzheimer's.

“We’re doing something to take action against the disease," Todd said. "It’s nice because everybody can feel that they are a part of this.”

Online registration will end sometime Saturday afternoon, Todd said. 

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