On Saturday, the Dutchess County chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association held their annual walk on Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson.
The walk starts over on the Highland side of the Walkway and then is a total of two miles, but you can either walk for a longer or shorter distance.
For an overcast day, the walk had many volunteers and many walkers show up for the cause. Sue Serino, a New York State Senator, and Karen Smythe, a candidate for the New York State Senate were among the many participants at the walk. Music was played by 92.9, a local radio station, to get the walkers ready for the two-mile walk ahead of them.
David Sobel, the President and CEO of the Hudson Valley chapter, was also in attendance. Sobel is in charge of overseeing both the Dutchess and Ulster County walks. “My job is to make sure that we work year-round to get teams together,” Sobel said. “We try to make sure they do as much fundraising as possible.”
For fundraising, each walker sets up their own page on the Alzheimer’s Association website and then can post the link to their page on their social media platforms or email the page to friends and family where they can make donations. If a walker raises more than 500 dollars, they are part of the Champions Club. People can register for the walk on the same day, and no donation is necessary to walk.
Shortly before the walk started, emcee of the event shared with the crown that over $16,000 had been raised by the participant of the walk.
Sobel also shared that the walk would not be possible without the efforts of its many volunteers.
“We host a kickoff event and have monthly meetings for our volunteers,” Sobel said. “We also send them out into their communities to meet people affected by this disease.”
Many of the volunteers have their own connections to the disease and volunteer as a way to spread awareness about the disease throughout their communities.
After the walkers check in and get their wristbands which enables them to participate in the walk, they can go pick out a flower. Each color flower represents a different connection to the Alzheimer’s disease. Purple meant that you knew someone who has died from the disease and orange meant that you had the disease yourself. Either before or after the walk, people placed their flowers in stacks of hay.
Local vendors such as Simple Gourmet and local police and fire stations donated food and drink to the cause for the walkers to enjoy either before or after the walk.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a national organization that helps raise awareness through its local chapters through its walks and their volunteers. The money that the walkers raise all go towards finding a cure for this disease.