[McLean, VA] — On Saturday, September 23, Southern Maryland will witness a gathering of hundreds at the 2023 Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Events will occur in La Plata at the La Plata Town Hall and Solomons at Asbury Solomons. These walks aim to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease, affecting an estimated 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older.
The walks, a fixture in the Southern Maryland community for a quarter-century, are anticipated to attract new and returning participants. Teams and individual walkers will participate in fundraising efforts to contribute to Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.
Asbury Solomons has been hosting one of these walks since 1998. A prominent team, Team Care Blairs, consisting of sisters Betsy Blair, Susan Dudley, Terrie Harney, and their mother Marian Blair, walks in honor of Matt Blair, a family member lost to Alzheimer’s in 2011. The team captain, Betsy Blair, stated, “I walk for my Dad. I miss him every day. I walk to honor him, bring attention to this disease, and hopefully diminish the toll it may take on future generations.” The team has raised over $4,000 and leads the Solomons Walk fundraising.
Another formidable team is the Southern Maryland Boot Scooters. Team captain Leslie Harvey led the Boot Scooters in the Charles County Walk since 2015. This year, the team is nearing its fundraising goal of $30,000, with nearly $28,000 already collected. Harvey, who lost five family members to Alzheimer’s, remarked, “Many of our team members have family or friends impacted by this disease. We aim to see the white flower held by survivors of this terrible disease.”
The walks include a Promise Garden ceremony, where participants hold colored flowers signifying their connection to Alzheimer’s: blue for those living with the disease, purple for those who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s, yellow for caregivers, and orange for supporters of the cause.
According to Alzheimer’s Association statistics, around 110,000 Marylanders are among the millions of Americans with Alzheimer’s. Additionally, over 247,000 residents provide unpaid care, contributing to the estimated $339 billion of due care nationwide.
Cindy Schelhorn, a spokesperson with the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter, expressed optimism about the future. “We’re closer than ever to stopping Alzheimer’s. We hope that everyone in the Southern Maryland community will be inspired to join us,” she said.
Participants can register on the day of the event. The La Plata Walk registration opens at 8:30 a.m., with the ceremony starting at 9:30 a.m. For the Solomons Walk, registration also begins at 8:30 a.m., and the ceremony will commence at 9 a.m. Although participation is free, fundraising is encouraged. For more information and to register, visit alz.org/ncawalks. Day-of registrations are also welcome.