Annual walk brings awareness and comfort to those affected by Alzheimer’s

Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 9:12 PM EDT
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SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) - The Alzheimer’s Association of Vermont held a walk in Shelburne over the weekend to raise awareness about a disease that robs thousands of Vermonters of their memories.

“We are here to bring awareness and hopefully find a cure for Alzheimer’s,” said Lydia Raymond of LCB Senior Living.

The Alzheimer’s Association put on its annual walk at the Shelburne Museum. The association says it’s an opportunity to educate people about the disease and let people share their stories.

“The thing about Alzheimer’s is that you watch your loved one disappear over the years. Then you mourn that loss over the years. Then you end up mourning that loss in the end, as well,” Lynn Cota said.

Currently in the U.S., more than six million people live with Alzheimer’s. The association says 13,000 Vermonters live with this illness.

Many organizations and volunteers come together to organize the walk in Vermont. Even a local Girl Scout group came to show their support to one of their fellow scouts. Parents say it’s a good way of educating their children about this disease.

“I mean they’re going to be the ones taking care of us when we get older and everything. So for them to be aware of diseases and issues like this helps as they are growing up,” explained Laurie Himes.

Many people at the walk say this disease not only affects the person with the illness, but it also impacts the family members, as well. Especially those who take on the role of a caregiver, who call Alzheimer’s “the long goodbye.” More than 11 million individuals are serving as unpaid caregivers in the U.S.

Tracy Schneider was a caregiver for her mother for a short time.

“It was emotionally exhausting for sure. I mean it definitely changed our relationship for sure. Especially being the caregiver emotionally, and helping her settle in,” said Schneider

The event had over 600 people at the walk. The goal was to raise $225,000. The association ended up raising over $168,000 donated to critical care and support services.