Walking to Remember

| by Scott Nishimura |

The Alzheimer’s Association annual Fort Worth Walk to End Alzheimer’s is coming up, Oct. 24, and the organization’s fundraising goal is $315,000.

It’s the largest walk in the association’s North Central Texas Chapter, which hosts seven walks annually. This year’s chapter-wide goal: $838,000, or about one-third of the chapter’s budget.

“It’s so grass-roots,” Theresa Hocker, CEO of the North Central Texas Chapter, says. “The bulk of the dollars (raised) are from individuals raising money through bake sales or car washes. A lot of people form teams. A lot of people do it in memory of loved ones.”

Last year, the 2.5-mile walk through Trinity Park, also the site of this year’s event, drew 2,537 participants.

To register individually or as a team or donate, visit alz.org. Paper forms are available, either on the website or by contacting the association. For information, you may call Ashley Powell, 817.336.4949 or email her at [email protected].

Donors can also sponsor artificial flowers for a Promise Garden set up during the walk, pledging “I promise to keep fighting the disease” and “I promise to not forget.”

Anybody who raises $100 or more receives a Walk T-shirt.

The association will conduct training for team captains this summer.

NBC5 anchor Deborah Ferguson, who has been emcee of the Fort Worth walk for several years, will be emcee again this year.

Chris Lokey, owner of Lokey Metals in Fort Worth, is honorary chair for the Fort Worth walk. His wife has Alzheimer’s.

“Her care is my highest priority,” Lokey says. Second is the future of their two daughters.

“Their grandmother died from Alzheimer’s, their aunt has the disease too. They are worried that if a cure isn’t found, their fate will be the same as their mother’s. Finding a cure or at least a means to control the disease is so very important to them and to me.

“Watching someone you love slowly fade away is a very helpless feeling,” he says. “Helping to raise money through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s gives me a sense that I’m doing something positive that gives me a chance to make a difference for those I love.”

Money raised from the walks supports the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr. Meharvan Singh, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, is chair of the Alzheimer’s Association North Central Texas Chapter board. Singh’s faculty focuses include Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Rebecca Cunningham of the UNT Health Science Center received a $100,000 grant from the national Alzheimer’s Association last year for her research, looking into the association between sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea, and the development and progression of Alzheimer’s.

In 2014, Alzheimer’s Association nationally had 458,828 registered walkers, 49,138 teams and $29.2 million in total revenue. Walk to End Alzheimer’s was held in more than 600 communities.