TARPON SPRINGS, Florida – Every fall, people from across the country take part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to raise funds in hopes of finding a cure.
This year, due to the pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association has to be creative with the walks so that they can be used virtually. There are no central meeting points, but the participants take part in their individual walks, starting at their doorstep.
“My mother is 72 years old and has been battling dementia for over 15 years,” said Kim Bittle, whose mother lives with dementia.
Kim Bittle plans to take a walk at Brooker Creek Preserve this Saturday for the Pinellas County Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“My mom loved the outdoors, so we decided to go for a walk in a nature reserve,” said Bittle.
That year, Bittle’s family faced the difficult decision of taking their mother, Vicki, to a care facility.
“We actually moved her the week that everything was closed because of the pandemic, so I haven’t been able to visit her since moving in early March,” Bittle said.
While the pandemic has kept her from seeing her mother in person, it doesn’t stop her from going for her in hopes of one day finding a cure.
“I don’t want any other family, of course, and that’s why I’ve chosen to take the walk for the past eight years,” said Bittle.
The Alzheimer’s Association organizes walks against Alzheimer’s across the country every year. This year, thousands of Floridians are taking part, including here in Tampa Bay, starting with Pinellas County on Saturday.
“Some people walk on the beach, some downtown, so it’s really up to them to walk, raise awareness, and wear their purple,” said Michelle Olson, development manager at the Alzheimer’s Association.
These walks are the association’s largest fundraising drives and help keep providing free services to families dealing with the disease.
“Just knowing that you are not alone to be able to talk about what you are experiencing and how the disease is developing in your loved one is so important,” said Bittle.
So at the moment they’re running.
If you want to go for a walk or donate to the Alzheimer’s Association, Click here.