Socially Distant Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Instead of walking in large numbers down the Lakewalk, participants were encouraged to do their own version of the walk at home.

DULUTH, Minn.– Over 120,000 Americans died from Alzheimer’s in 2018 and today a popular annual event in Duluth helping raise awareness for the disease was still able to go on in a unique way during the pandemic.

Walking to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s this year is more important now than ever. Those effected say with the added stress and separation brought on by COVID-19.

Every year the twin ports walk to end Alzheimer’s brings in 1,000 people from all over the Northland to fight end Alzheimer’s. But this year COVID-19 had other plans.

“Back in march when this started, we weren’t sure if we were going to be out walking and what exactly the walk was going to look like,” said Brenda Conley, Community Engagement Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Instead of walking in large numbers down the Lakewalk, participants were encouraged to do their own version of the walk at home in their neighborhoods, trails, and even treadmills to show their support.

“I’m just amazed at how everybody had to get a little creative with fundraising this year but they’ve done it and done a great job helping us raise funds and being out and raising awareness for their own communities,” said Conley.

In Canal Park, a promise garden filled with colors. Each one symbolized a different way the disease has impacted the 400 plus participants who walked Saturday.

“Even though we’re dealing with a pandemic that stuff doesn’t go away,” said participant Liz Baczkiewicz.

Baczkiewicz walked while holding a purple flower in memory of her mom, who lost her fight with the disease just a few years ago.

She started walking in 2014 with her friend but now is now joined by her kids, father, and other friends.

As Baczkiewicz steps along the Lakewalk, she always has her mom on her mind.

“I think about my mom and i think about the time that we’ve spent together and the memories and I think about my friends and family and hoping that they will never have to deal with this,” said Baczkiewicz.

Organizers with the walk want to raise 200-thousand dollars by the end of the year. Those who are interested in donating or finding out more about the Alzheimer’s Association can find it on their website.

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