People walk to stomp out Alzheimer's

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - People in Central Nebraska keep marching on in the fight to end Alzheimer's, which they did with an annual walk Sunday.

People put down different colors of flower-pinwheels to represent how Alzheimer's has affected them at the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's Sunday in Grand Island. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

The Nebraska Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association hosted their second Walk to End Alzheimer's in Central Nebraska this year Sunday in Grand Island.

More than 100 people walked around Sucks Lake to stomp out the disease. Their goal is to raise awareness, and money to find a cure to Alzheimer's.

This was Jerry Brown's first time walking in Grand Island. He walked for his mom, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's one year ago.

"I saw this walk, and I might've been one of the first people to sign up," Brown said.

He grew up in Grand Island, but has lived in Florida for almost 30 years. Brown said when he learned his mom had Alzheimer's, he wanted to move back home to support her.

"I just had a lot of emotions around it, and just thinking, "oh my gosh. I'm way down in Florida, and I need to be there." I want to be here for some hard times and help her through some of those times," Brown said.

As people walked, they put down different colors of flower-shaped pinwheels into a Promise Garden to represent different ways Alzheimer's has affected them.

A blue pinwheel represented someone who is currently living with dementia or Alzheimer's; purple represented someone who lost a loved one to the disease; yellow represented a caregiver to someone who has Alzheimer's; and orange to support the cause and a world without the disease.

Brown said it's all the support from the Alzheimer's Association as well as other participants that helps him get through some difficult times.

"I don't want families to ever think that they are on this road alone," said Cassie Larreau-Bailey, Alzheimer's Association. "When they come to these types of events, they meet other people that they can visit with, and they can keep those connections even after walk day."

Right now the Alzheimer's Association is halfway to their goal for the Grand Island walk. They're looking to raise $50,000.

If you'd like to make a donation, you can visit Alz.org/walk. They're taking donations until December 15.