Dozens of area residents walked the sidewalks of Main Street Saturday morning to show their support for efforts to fund research into treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s event, held annually for 25 years in New Mexico and about 13 years in Roswell, raises awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association and its work to help those affected by the diagnosis.
“I have a special interest,” said City Councilor Steve Henderson. “I have a sister who was stricken with Alzheimer’s when she was in her 50s and she died seven years ago when she was 70.”
Henderson presented a proclamation on behalf of the city of Roswell dedicating the day to the event. Other speakers included Jana Kibbler — who cared for a husband and now works as a professional caregiver — and KBIM Radio general manager Darryl Burkfield and on-air personalities Luke Austin and Naomi Lynn.
In Roswell, walkers, who raised money for their efforts, began their journey at the downtown Pioneer Plaza and proceeded north on Main Street until they reached the pedestrian bridge at New Mexico Military Institute, where they returned to downtown.
The event drew 19 teams and 122 participants, according to an online event site. About $8,786 had been pledged or raised toward the group’s yearly goal of $57,200.
Sashua Patton, the regional manager for the southeastern regional office of the New Mexico Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said that she just took the position in May and was pleased with Roswell’s turnout and fundraising. Mary Barron was honored as the individual raising the most, $500. The local office of Edward Jones earned top team honors with $1,385 raised.
New Mexico has 41,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, according to state association staff Tim Sheahan and Chris Chaffin. About 108,000 are unpaid caregivers to family, friends and loved ones.