OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Saturday morning the stage area of Scissortail Park, with its spectacular background of downtown Oklahoma City, will be filled with your friends and neighbors walking in a show of support to end the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“So last year we did go virtual. Year before that we were at Bicentennial Park. We’re really happy to have the walk-in person again,” says Dave Wanzer the co-chair of the Walk this year.
Wanzer also says the Walk is a way for family, friends and patients to heal.
“That’s one of the great things about the Walk – you get to talk to other people who are suffering from the disease or are being caretakers who are being affected by this disease. It’s very much a bonding experience for the participants,” says Wanzer.
And this year there are two ways to walk the walk.
“The regular route will be 1.9 miles and it will go north up through downtown and around our old location and back,” says Jessica Hogner the Oklahoma City Alzheimer’s Walk Manager. “We also have a short option for those who don’t want to or not able to make the long route and that stays within the park. It’s about .6 miles.”
It’s a fundraiser. They hope to raise more than $700,000 this year. That money stays in Oklahoma. Money toward research to find a treatment and maybe one day a cure. Alzheimer’s is the sixth deadliest disease that doesn’t have effective treatment or a cure.
But the money also goes to help caregivers.
“Unfortunately, we do lose a lot of caregivers before we actually lose the loved one they are caring for, ” says Hogner. “Because when you’re in the heart of that disease and providing that care to somebody, you’re really overwhelmed and you often put their health before your own. We provide free education. We provide support groups. We also provide care consultations, and we have a 1-800 number that is available 24-7. And to me that’s the most part. And that’s really why we walk is to raise the money for those services.”
Hogner and Wanzer have a personal connection to their effort, both having family members affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. “Once you have a personal connection, you really don’t want to see anyone else suffer from this disease,” says Wanzer. “I am passionate about finding an end to this disease and it’s something I will be working on the rest of my life until we have it.”
For more information on how you can get involved in the Walk this coming Saturday, or how to donate, head to kfor.com/alzwalk.