A single purple flower is held up by a hand. In the background, a crowd of all kinds of different people of different ages holds up purple flowers.

Just Me and 10,000 of My Friends: Walk to End Alzheimer's

November 10, 2019, came and went. With it, another Philadelphia Walk to End Alzheimer's is in the history books. And I have to tell you, this is one we are going to want to remember!

Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia was filled with toddlers, parents, adult children, adolescents, volunteers, caregivers, those who have Alzheimer’s, and puppies! (My own team canine, Kane, seemed to steal the show.)

Looking around, I was struck — because this is what it is all about! While the walk is a fundraising event and has raised over $1.3 million and counting, I believe its higher purpose is to bring this community together.

We are all friends here

I will talk to people who are newly (and tragically) inducted into our community and tell them, “It doesn’t matter if you fundraise — come to the walk.” As you will know from reading the articles on AlzheimersDisease.net and your own experiences, there are so many areas of this disease where you feel powerless. But, hanging out with 10,000 of your friends singularly focused on a world without Alzheimer’s - that is an incredibly powerful feeling.

Each one of these individuals has watched someone struggle in frustration and disappointment to find a word; each one of these individuals knows what it is like to have their loved one look at them and not remember their name; each one of these individuals has borne the brunt of a bad day; each one of these individuals has shed tears — or knows someone who is shedding tears — watching their mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandmom, grandpop, disappear before their eyes.

We support each other

For me, this day and the support we all garner from it, comes from more than my small but mighty team of family members and beyond the borders of the city of Philadelphia; it comes from all the homes of the people who join us on walk day.

In 2019, the walk fell on a gorgeous fall day. I grabbed my purple flower and held it up high during the promise garden ceremony in memory of my Poppop. I cheered with tears in my eyes at the white flower — signifying the first survivor. I danced along Citizen’s Bank Way as the DJ played us through the starting gate. I marveled at all the people, carrying burdens I cannot see but can imagine. I was incredibly moved that we all chose to come together on this day, to take a stroll around a few city blocks with 10,000 of our friends. It was amazing.

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