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Walk to End Alzheimer’s returns to Roswell

Lisa Dunlap Photo Area residents begin their walk in Cielo Grande Recreation Area Saturday morning to raise awareness about Alzheimer's and dementia and to raise money for medical research, education programs and support efforts.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s returned to Roswell on Saturday, when about 100 people gathered at Cielo Grande Recreation Area to take a lap or two around the trails and participate in an event that raises money and increases awareness about a condition that the national Alzheimer’s Association indicates affects about six million people in the United States.

The Roswell walk is one of seven regional events in New Mexico and two in the southeastern portion of the state. A walk in Hobbs that has raised about $13,000 so far occurred earlier in the year, said Paul Moore, the southeastern regional manager for the New Mexico chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Roswell’s walk, which has been occurring since about 2000, is the last regional event held in the state for the group. Last year, due to COVID-19 and public health orders, Roswell coordinated a virtual event where individuals could walk on their own and where businesses and organizations planted “Promise Gardens” with the different colors of fabric flowers that indicate how a person is related to the cause.

This year, Roswell walk organizers had set a goal of $25,400, with $17,000 raised by Saturday morning from the 26 teams and 112 walkers registered, as well as from national and local business sponsors. The fundraising will continue until Dec. 31, said Kati Hernandez, the volunteer walk chair and an Encompass Health branch director.

“It goes to global research to find a cure,” Hernandez about the funding. “A portion of it stays here for local support groups and education classes and respite services for people who have been caring for loved ones living with dementia.”

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The event included remarks by Hernandez, Moore and Health Promotion Program Manager Laurie Dudek of the New Mexico Department of Health; presentation of colors by a local Boy Scout group; the singing of the national anthem by Tom Blake; and the reading of a city of Roswell proclamation declaring Oct. 23 as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Day.

According to the proclamation presented by Mayor Dennis Kintigh, 43,000 New Mexico residents have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia and another 85,000 family and friends provided $2.5 billion in uncompensated care for their loved ones in 2020.

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