Alzheimer's Walk expected to draw hundreds at Stephens Lake Park

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 | 5:10 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — People whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer's disease will gather at Stephens Lake Park on Sunday. 

The Columbia Walk to End Alzheimer's is one of the largest in mid-Missouri. About 600 people are expected to participate, said Chris Baker, associate director for special events at the Alzheimer's Association.

"(The event) has been growing every year and will continue to grow, unfortunately,  because the disease has been growing at a rapid rate," Baker said.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with various forms of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association website.

Participants can register for the event online as an individual, team or member of a team. Registration is free, and anyone can participate, but those who sign up are encouraged to make a donation, Baker said. 

In-person registration for the walk begins at noon at the Riechmann Pavilion, and the walk around the 1.7 mile perimeter trail starts at 1 p.m. According to the National Weather Service, Sunday is expected be mostly sunny with a high of 55 degrees.

A short ceremony will conclude the event with Joe Bechtold, the general manager of Midway Truck Stop, as the master of ceremonies. Baker said Bechtold has helped with many Alzheimer's Association events in the past because his father has the disease. 

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