2016 Tacoma Walk to End Alzheimer's

September 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

We have a long way to go in reducing the impact of Alzheimer's.  The Alzheimer's Association works to do exactly that, and it hosts the Walk to End Alzheimer's across the country.  I was honored to support the cause in Tacoma by documenting the event.

 

The University of Puget Sound hosted the 2016 walk in Tacoma.  The skies were cloudy during the opening and program, and that did nothing to diminish the enthusiasm of the walkers, partners, and volunteers.

After walkers registered, most headed over to the Promise Garden for their flowers.  The flowers are brightly colored pinwheels, and each color represents a different relationship with Alzheimer's.

These flowers created an ever-changing garden among the walkers.  They wrote the names of their family and friends who have lived with the disease.  Professional caregivers, sons and daughters, siblings, spouses . . . many people have many stories to tell.

This young supporter wrote on his flower himself.  Pop Pop lives with Alzheimer's.

This man lost both his grandmother and mother to Alzheimer's.  He wants to see an end to this disease.

This young supporter barely knew her Grandpa Rex.  She rode on her dad's shoulders for most of the two-mile walk.  I'm still going to count her as a walker.  :)

The Orting High School cheerleaders came to rev up the crowd.

People hugged, laughed, and remembered in the moments before the walk.

Some were delighted.

Others were lost in their own worlds.

The walkers with the blue flowers were honored with applause and cheers (blue flowers represent those who live with Alzheimer's themselves).  I saw one woman with a blue flower beginning her walk.  She passed by one of the event volunteers, who was high-fiving as many people as she could and shouting encouragement.  The volunteer (in the white shirt) took extra time for this high five.  This was my favorite moment.

Walkers started along the two-mile journey through the campus and surrounding area, proudly holding their flowers and wearing purple.

Volunteers lined the course to offer encouragement and water along the way.  These volunteers were cheerleaders at Pacific Lutheran University and were compassionate stewards of the walkers that came their way.  Who better to offer encouragement than a cheerleader?

Here's the awesome news: this walk exceeded the fundraising goal of $157,700 and fundraising remains open through the end of the calendar year.  The total from the Tacoma walk, as of Friday, September 16, is $160,875.32.  Ninety teams and 675 walkers came together to raise 102% of the goal.  Amazing!


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