WHEELING - They wore T-shirts in hues of purple, blue, orange and yellow. Each of the more than 200 participants in Saturday's annual Walk to End Alzheimer's, held at Wheeling Park, wore the colors that signified how Alzheimer's has affected their lives.
Blue was worn by people suffering from the disease that destroys brain cells and results in dementia. Yellow symbolized the people who are supporting or caring for an Alzheimer patient. Purple represented those who lost a loved one from Alzheimer's.
Orange signified those who care enough to support the cause and walk the steps for those who could not.
Photo by Heather Ziegler
Participants in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s are shown Saturday as they walk past the Promise Garden depicting the various stages of the disease.
Prior to the 10 a.m. misty morning walk, Dr. James Comerci praised all those who turned out for the walk and encouraged those who are caring for people suffering from Alzheimer's.
"For those who care for the patients, we appreciate you. Each day we're getting closer to a cure ... One of the things we know helps is exercise so thank you very much for being here."
Walkers limbered up before heading out by taking part in an energetic Jazzercise workout lead by Rebecca Broadwater.
A Promise Garden of plastic flowers representing the various colors of the event was "planted" at the park shelter above the playground.
Wendy Hamilton, Mid-Ohio Valley regional coordinator for the walk, said the turnout was "wonderful." She said with about 100 more people showing up than had pre-registered, she hoped the event would meet its goal to raise at least $20,000. The walk was free, however, participants were encouraged to raise $100 to earn a commemorative Walk To End Alzheimer's T-shirt.
Many local groups and businesses took up the cause and teams were still showing up at walk time.
"Whether participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer's is personal, professional, or a mix of both, the reason is the same - to give hope to people living with the disease, their caregivers and loved ones. Alzheimer's is progressive and debilitating, but the end of Alzheimer's starts now," Hamilton noted.
Jalen and Trenton Gummer and their parents traveled from Columbus to honor the boys' great-grandmother Nancy Gummer. The boys, ages 10 and 6, respectively, said they hoped she liked the flowers they planted for her.