Community Walk Raises Alzheimer’s Awareness
Morgan Zwart
mzwar542@uwsp.edu

People gathered last Saturday, Sept. 12 for the Walk for Alzheimer’s in Plover to raise money for research and support those who are afflicted with the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin Chapter has been holding the Alzheimer’s walk for more than 15 years. It was formerly held in the Stevens Point area, but last year O’so’s Brewing Company began hosting the event .

To help out with the donation process of Alzheimer’s research, O’so Brewing Company has brewed a special beer called Memory Lane and is donating 5 percent of the proceeds to support Alzheimer’s research.

This year’s participation rate hit a record high with 32 teams and 215 registered walkers.

Diana Butz, the coordinator of the walk, said there are currently 5 million Americans that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and there are 15 million caregivers who take care of them.

The walk helps to promote awareness and help fund Alzheimer’s research and care for those who are afflicted with the disease.

“Until we find a cure we have to take care of those who have Alzheimer’s,” Butz said.

During the event, there was a moment of silence for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and participants held up flowers that held important significance. Blue flowers represented someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Orange flowers represented someone who is supporting the cause and a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

Yellow flowers represented someone who is supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and purple flowers represented someone who has lost someone to the disease.

Many participants of the event have been indirectly affected by Alzheimer’s, including Dillion Buttera, who was walking for the first time in memory of his great-grandfather.

“I remember my dad going to visit my great- grandfather and he wouldn’t always remember who my dad was,” Buttera said.

Melissa Madlena, a first-year participant of the event, was walking for the Physical Therapy Associates team. She was walking in memory of her grandmother and stresses​the importance of the awareness of Alzheimer’s.

“It’s just so important for everyone to become aware of Alzheimer’s because 5.4 million people have it,” Madlena said.

David Packerd was also walking in the event for the first time in memory of his mother-in-law.

“I like to do this for the cause.

Alzheimer’s is a bad thing to have,” Packerd said.

Melissa Fletcher, another participant in the event, walked in memory of her father who passed away just last year from Alzheimer’s.

“I think at some point it will affect everyone somehow,” Fletcher said.