SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — People from across the Concho Valley came together to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association on Saturday, Sept. 23.

The event took place at 8:30 a.m. at Kirby Park, located at 1401 Edmund Drive. Participants got to shop from a variety of vendors under the park’s central pavilion and socialize with one another while preparations were made for the walk.

Then, a “Promise Garden ceremony” was held at 9:30 a.m., during which event-goers held flower decorations with colors that corresponded to their individual experiences with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Participants took heart in knowing that donations gathered from all around West Texas had given the Alzheimer’s Association thousands of dollars to fund education programs, support groups, Alzheimer’s research and more, with the event alone garnering approximately $41,500 as of the time of writing.

The walk itself began at 10:30 a.m. Attendees filed behind the starting line and, after a brief countdown, flooded the sidewalks of Kirby Park in honor of those who had been affected by Alzheimer’s.

This comes at a time when Alzheimer’s remains prevalent within Texas and the U.S. proper. According to Julie Gray, director of development for the West Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, over 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s across the U.S. Of those 6 million, over 400,000 are found in Texas. Additionally, there are over 1 million unpaid Alzheimer’s caregivers in Texas.

“About 12% of the population here in Tom Green County over the age of 65 is suffering from some type of Alzheimer’s or other dementia, and that number continues to grow every year,” Gray said at the event. “That’s why it’s so important for our community to rally behind us and push for that cure. Now we are in that era of treatment, and that’s the first time we’ve ever been able to say that, and it’s so very exciting.”

Though the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is over, there are still plenty of ways to get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Donations to the Alzheimer’s Association can still be made on the organization’s website. The association will also be hosting “A-L-Z and Me,” an educational event for patients, loved ones and other community members concerning Alzheimer’s, on Oct. 25, 2023.

“We encourage everyone to reach out because you’re not alone in this fight, and we’re here to help,” Gray said.