By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Organizers are hoping to reach 700 participants for the 18th annual Walk to End Alzheimer's at Clat Adams Park on Sept. 4.
The signature event nationwide for the Alzheimer's Association is designed to both create awareness and generate funding for programs, services and research.
"It's always great to see how the community supports this event," said Kari Gabbert, the manager for Quincy and seven other walks within the Central Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
The Quincy Area Chapter's goal is $80,860, which if reached would rank among the top three walks in the agency's history. The Quincy walk raised a record $82,000 in 2012. Last year's walk raised more than $57,000.
"Last year we had 500 participants, and we want to grow that number," Gabbert said. "We'll be adding some new things this year. We'll have some surprises. It will be a nice program."
One addition to this year's walk is the Grand Champions Club. Any donor giving $1,000 or more becomes a member. The Champions Club for donations of at least $500 remains intact.
"We are inspired by the commitment of our walkers, our volunteers and our staff," said Nikki Vulgaris-Rodriguez, executive director of the Central Illinois Chapter. "So many ... have joined our fight against this horrendous disease."
Only Peoria ($160,000 in 2013) generates more money than Quincy among walks scheduled in the Central Illinois Chapter. Other walks are held in Macomb, Pekin, Canton, Peru, Galesburg and Dixon. The eight Central Illinois Chapter walks raised almost $340,000 last year.
More than 5 million Americans, and 3,400 people in West-Central Illinois, are currently afflicted by Alzheimer's disease.
º Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's every 67 seconds.
º More than 500,000 seniors die each year because they have Alzheimer's, which kills more people than prostate and breast cancer combined.
º Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death for those 65 and older.
º Deaths from Alzheimer's increased 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, while deaths from other major diseases decreased.
º Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.
º By 2030, when the U.S. baby-boom generation is over age 65, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will double to an estimated 10 million to 11 million.
The event underwent a name change in 2011. It was known as the Memory Walk during its first 14 years.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. People with the progressive, degenerative brain disease slowly lose the ability to remember, think, communicate and care for themselves.
Registration the afternoon of the walk begins at 4:30, followed by a short program at 5:45 before the walk kicks off at 6. For more information, go to alz.org or call the Quincy Area Branch office at (217) 228-1111.
WALK TO END ALZHEIMER'S
The money raised during the past 10 years for the Quincy Area Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association's chief fundraiser, the Walk to End Alzheimer's: