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“It’s a tragic disease, but that doesn’t mean the walk is tragic,” Walk to End Alzheimer’s promotes hope

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OKLAHOMA CITY - There is always that first moment.

"I remember being at the checkout with my grandma, and it was time to pay, and she couldn't find her checkbook. There was a panic that came over her. The look on her face was just different,” Jessica Daniels said.

A diagnosis soon followed.

"It may have been six to eight months after that...my dad called and said she had Alzheimer's. You can talk about it sometimes really easily, and other times you can't,” she said.

But you can help make other families going through the same thing are not alone, and hopefully one day help find a cure.

Alzheimer’s Association services are free.

The organization has one big fundraiser each year – the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

This year it will be held on October 5.

"I understand the journey that they're in. I understand how heavy it can be,” Daniels said. “My family didn't know about the association. So raising the awareness, and telling as many people about the Alzheimer's Association and what we can do just means more to me, because we didn't have that resource."

Carl Stickler is this year’s walk chairman. The disease runs in his family.

"My goal is to find a cure before my kids get to be my age,” he said. “That's really what drives me every day."

$1 million is this year’s fundraising goal.

Most of the money raised comes from grassroots efforts – teams of Oklahomans who hit the ground running, old-school fundraising style.

Last year, Oklahoma was 8th in the country for Alzheimer’s Associations donations.

"Beating out cities like Houston and Dallas, San Francisco and L.A.,” Stickler said. “Oklahomans just have a giving nature, and it shows."

The walk starts in Bicentennial Park and goes through Film Row and Classen.

There is a shorter distance if you can’t make the full 1.9 miles.

Participants can collect beads along the way for a chance to win a grand prize drawing.

Each flower carried by participants has a different meaning.

Each color represents supporters, caregivers, those living with the disease and those who are no longer with us.

Each and every flower creates a Promise Garden of Hope along the journey that nobody has to travel alone.

"It's a tragic disease, but that doesn't mean the walk is tragic or depressing. It really is a fun event,” Stickler said.

Click here to learn more about the Walk to End Alzheimer's.

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