Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s brings together a diverse group of communities in the world’s largest event to raise critical awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.
On Sept. 24, 2017, more than 4,756 people walked along Montrose Harbor to reclaim the future of millions at the Chicago Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Chicago native Theresa Montgomery spoke at the event, sharing her personal journey of being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 58.
“Alzheimer’s has changed my path,” Montgomery says. “I was planning to retire, live a long healthy life and volunteer, but that outcome drastically changed.”
The Chicago native is among the 220,000 Illinois residents battling this undignified disease, along with grappling with the fear of losing precious memories.
“I, like millions of Americans, have Alzheimer’s disease,” Montgomery says. “But Alzheimer’s does not have me and that is why I walk.”
Although the number of Alzheimer’s cases continues to grow at a staggering rate, there is even more advocates to walk in defiance of this distressing disease.
Attendees gathered under an array of promise flowers highlighting the hope of finding a cure. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Senator Daniel Biss, and State Representative Chris Welch, who are all recipients of the Legislator of the Year award, also spoke, expressing their support in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Congresswoman Schakowsky called the event “powerful.” Walk to End Alzheimer’s has seen support from legislators across the state, both Democrat and Republican, including Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who was also named Legislator of the Year for his dedication to the cause.
WLS-TV news anchor Alan Krashesky also emceed the event, introducing the white flower and its representation of eventually having the first survivor.
Alzheimer’s has this overwhelming effect of making people feel alone, but the Walk to End Alzheimer’s bridges that gap of isolation and brings a community together to walk for the millions of Americans affected by this disease. The Chicago Walk to End Alzheimer’s has already raised more than $1 million for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.
Montgomery finished her speech with a glimpse of hope for the future.
“Alzheimer’s has changed my path, but it has also put me on a new one. I vow to be an advocate and a voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Hopefully one day there will be a cure and it will be a disease from the past. Together, this walk is getting us a bit closer to that cure.”
For more information or if you would like to donate to the Chicago Walk to End Alzheimer’s, please visit act.alz.org.