The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Tampa residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, November 13.
While last year’s event was mainly virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association is moving forward with hosting the Tampa Walk to End Alzheimer’s in person. Walk Director Steve Manuel, however, noted that the health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers remain the association’s top priorities.
“All events will implement safety protocols, including physical distancing, masks where required, contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more,” Manuel said. “We will also be offering options to participate online and in local neighborhoods and will continue to closely monitor CDC, state and local guidelines to ensure events adhere to recommendations and are safe for attendees.”
Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. On walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony—a mission-focused experience that signifies their solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent participants’ connections to Alzheimer’s disease and their personal reasons for walking.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease—a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Florida alone, there are more than 580,000 people living with the disease and 527,000 caregivers.
University of Tampa student Adriana Garcia, who will be walking with her Sigma Kappa sorority sisters, became one of those caregivers at an early age when her great-aunt, Aida, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“As a child, nobody expects you to become a caretaker,” Garcia said. “All I could do was sit on the sidelines and try to process what was going on.”
The Tampa Walk to End Alzheimer’s—presented by Old Republic Title and sponsored by iN2L, Tampa General Hospital and Frontier Communications—will kick off with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. on November 13 at Raymond James Stadium. To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org/walk.