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Vermonters taking steps to end Alzheimer’s

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 9:11 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2021 at 11:42 PM EDT
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SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) - Nearly 500 people came together for this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

“Alzheimer’s is not stopping, and neither are we,” was the message ahead of Sunday’s walk.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disease that causes the brain to shrink and brain cells to die. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 13,000 Vermonters live with the disease.

Howard Goodrow is the executive director for Vermont’s chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. He says this year is different than most.

“After the year we’ve had with COVID and people being isolated, both caregivers and patients, loved ones -- it’s nice to have people together so we can share in the joy and the grief and all that goes along with this disease,” he said.

Those in attendance were given a flower, a symbol representing the many people with connections to the disease. Goodrow explains that each color has a different meaning.

“From caregivers, support people, people that just want to support the cause, and those who are dealing with the disease,” he said.

Antonio Lepore and Melissa Chenier were among the many who received a purple flower, representing those who have lost someone to the disease.

“My grandmother recently passed from Alzheimer’s and also my great grandmother did, as well,” Lepore said.

“My fraternal grandmother passed away several years ago from Alzheimer’s. Her eldest daughter passed away recently, also with dementia. I also have a maternal aunt who died from dementia,” Chenier said.

With more than $170,000 raised of the $200,000 goal as of Sunday, there is one message in mind: find a cure in order to add a different kind of flower to the garden.

“We want to see the day when there is a white flower in this garden out here,” Rudy Chase said. “That represents that somebody was the first survivor of Alzheimer’s.”

Whether it was someone lost to the disease or an individual who was there to show support, all say it’s about bringing the community together.

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