Duhawks walk to end Alzheimer’s

The morning of Saturday, Sept. 10, the members of the Loras College Psi Chi Club volunteered at Dubuque’s chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.” This event raises money for Alzheimer’s research and advocates for government support of the search for a cure.

photo by Natalie Droeske

“The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is our major event here in the Dubuque area,” said Event Director Alexandra Barton. “It’s a great event to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. There are more than five million impacted by this disease so there’s a large number of Dubuquers that are impacted as well. It’s a great event to bring out the community to raise awareness and also raise funds so that we support education and awareness activities in the Dubuque area.”

The event was held at the Bergfeld Recreation Area and featured dozens of tents. They included a nail painting station, silent auction, kid’s activities, spinning flower memorial station, refreshments, and a champion’s club, providing a special area designated to the biggest fundraisers. All this surrounded a DJ and stage where keynote speaker Nancy Reilly delivered a moving talk about her husband’s decline in health due to Alzheimer’s.
Mike Reilly, former linebacker for the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, is well known around Dubuque as a graduate of Dubuque Senior high and as a popular announcer for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The ties to the Dubuque area coupled with the reality of the Reilly’s situation made for a moving message.

One of the most impactful aspects of the morning was the spinning flowers. A tent offered a selection of pinwheels, each color relating to Alzheimer’s: blue for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, purple for those have lost someone to Alzheimer’s, yellow for those supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, and orange for support of the cause and envisioning a world without Alzheimer’s.  Walkers were then encouraged to write their own “reasons I walk” on the flowers, creating a promise garden of these reasons.

The Psi Chi club greeted and directed walkers and encouraged advocates to reach out to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley to allot funding for Alzheimer’s research.

“Loras College Psi Chi is dedicated to advocating for Alzheimer’s awareness and finding its cure due to the need for more memory loss research. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Dubuque was the perfect event to volunteer for,” said Psi Chi President Morgan Lacher.

The club tries to organize a service opportunity at least once a year and have donated their time to the Alzheimer’s walk in years past.

“It was really amazing to see how many people rallied behind the cause.  There was a great turnout,” said Lacher.

For more information about how to get involved or to learn more, call 1-800-272-3900 or go to ALZ.org.

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