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Alzheimer’s San Diego aims to raise $500,000 during annual walk fundraiser

a group of people walk down a sidewalk during a fundraiser
People participate Alzheimer’s San Diego’s annual walk on Oct. 16, 2021, at Balboa Park.
(Kristian Carreon/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Oct. 15 event will raise money to support the nonprofit’s support programs for people living with dementia

Alzheimer’s San Diego is preparing for its seventh annual Walk4ALZ fundraiser to be held Saturday, Oct. 15., in Balboa Park.

The nonprofit is inching its way toward a goal of raising $500,000 in support of its free educational programming, social activities, movement and music wellness classes, support groups and respite care for those living with dementia. As of Friday afternoon, Alzheimer’s San Diego has raised $365,501 through this year’s walk campaign.

The Oct. 15 walk will start at 8 a.m. from Park Boulevard at Presidents Way, where a festival area will feature booths from local organizations that support people living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and their family caregivers.

“It’s our largest fundraiser of the year, but more than just a fundraiser, it’s a great place for people to come together as a community with people who are all dealing with the same thing,” said Eugenia Welch, Alzheimer’s San Diego president and CEO.

Thus far, the top fundraising group for this year’s event is Team Quest for the Cure, a group that has consistently been the top fundraising team in support of Alzheimer’s San Diego.

Team Quest for the Cure has already raised $100,003, with team captain Linda Cioffi leading as the top walker overall with $17,875. Last year, the group raised 19 percent of the total of Walk4ALZ funds.

The second place team so far with $75,765 is The Men Remember team, which consists of members of a male dementia caregiving support group facilitated through Alzheimer’s San Diego.

Escondido resident and team participant Gary Weller, 74, joined The Men Remember support group seven years ago during the early days of caregiving for his wife Linda, 75, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Weller noticed something was off when his wife started having short term memory issues, such as repeating questions and frequently forgetting where household items were placed. Being in a support group of fellow caregivers going through similar circumstances and learning from the education staff at Alzheimer’s San Diego has helped him in navigating the advance of her symptoms.

“It’s like caregiver university — I’ve learned so much from them about how to be a caregiver, the disease and the progression of the disease,” Weller said. “Now that I’ve lived it for about 10 years, it has become more obvious to me how helpful they had been in the early stages.”

The upcoming walk is free to register for and attend, but walkers who raise at least $100 will receive an event T-shirt with more prizes if they surpass other fundraising goals.

For more information about Alzheimer’s San Diego and its annual walk, go to alzsd.org, call (858) 492-4400 or email walk4alz@alzsd.org.


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