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Washtenaw County's Walk to End Alzheimer's to take place in-person this year

The Washtenaw County Walk to End Alzheimer’s is looking for volunteers as they return to holding an in-person walk this year.

The Alzheimer Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer's event in Washtenaw County will be held in-person this year on Oct. 10 in Ann Arbor.

Due to recent COVID-19 trends, it was decided to hold the event in-person this year at Pioneer High School, 601 W. Stadium Boulevard. In total, 25 walks will be held in Michigan. Last year, the Washtenaw County Walk raised $108,000 from teams, sponsors, and individuals. The association hopes to raise $148,000 during this year's walk.

Last year, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s could not take place in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in replacement, participants were able to walk in their own communities. The association hosted a ceremony last year over their social media, which included YouTube, Facebook, and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s app. Participants also used the app to track their steps and interact online with other participants.

Through the Walk to End Alzheimer's, the association hopes to find a cure for Alzheimer's so there will one day be a survivor of the disease. Over the years, they have raised over $2 million in funds to go toward research for Alzheimer’s by holding walks in nearly 600 communities nationwide. 

The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide organization and is also the largest nonprofit, private funder of Alzheimer’s disease. They have dedicated their support to fight Alzheimer's since 1980 and have been doing walks to end Alzheimer’s since 1989.

This year, there will be COVID-19 safety protocols including physical distancing reminders, hand sanitizer stations, safety signage, and social distancing between tents and tables, said Sue Prynn, the Alzheimer’s Association development manager.

There will also be other options for those who choose not to attend the walk at Pioneer High School but would still like to participate and support the cause, Prynn said. The association will again allow participants from a distance by offering them the option to walk in their neighborhood.

This year's Walk from Home option will be similar to last year's option, however Prynn acknowledged that the details for this year's walk is still being finalized. Prynn recommends that the best way to get a jump-start before the walk is to download the Walk to End Alzheimer’s app.

Prynn hopes that by being able to hold a walk in-person this year, the association will continue to be able to show the continuing fight against Alzheimer’s and raise funds to support Alzheimer’s care, support and research. 

Lindsay Mann-Shanahan, an Eastern Michigan University alumna and co-chair for the Washtenaw Alzheimer’s Association, hopes to make sure the event runs smoothly as well as to spread awareness about Alzheimer's and the walk.

“It’s always been great,” Mann-Shanahan said. “You meet a lot of wonderful people who have similar stories and missions, and it’s just coming together trying to raise funds and awareness to one day have a survivor of Alzheimer's.” 

Mann-Shanahan hopes community members will be able to attend the walk for many reasons, whether they are personally affected by the disease or just come to support the cause. 

"We would love volunteers for the day of the walk and volunteers to be on the committee,” Mann-Shanahan said. “You know, whatever you can do to help is helpful. I think people just need to know we’re all coming from a good place, and we’re doing the best we can to bring awareness and to one day find a cure.”

To learn more about the Washtenaw County Walk to End Alzheimer's and to register for the walk, visit their website. To learn more about the disease, visit the association's Facts and Figures Report.