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Join fight, Walk to End Alzheimer's

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Tri-Cities area residents have a couple of opportunities to join the battle against Alzheimer’s disease this weekend.

Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the nation’s largest fund-raising and awareness event for Alzheimer’s research and services, will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Johnson City and at Anderson Park in Bristol.

Conducted annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the walks and the festivities that surround them are designed to give people of all ages and all mental and physical abilities, their families, their churches, their clubs, their businesses and even their pets a chance to support the search for a cure. Crippling, fatal and still without an effective treatment, Alzheimer’s disease is now ranked as the sixth- leading cause of death in the nation. Currently more than 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and more than 16 million are expected to receive the diagnosis within the next 40 years.

Debbie Boggs, special events manager for the regional Alzheimer’s Association office in Johnson City, said the walks give entire communities and people of all ages a chance to come together to help reduce those numbers. And it’s not too late to sign up. Registration will continue throughout the two-hour event. In addition to the opportunity to help support Alzheimer’s research, the walks offer live music, breakfast pizzas, doughnuts, fruit and drinks, a Canine Corner with bandanas and photos for dogs and their owners, a Kids Zone with a bouncy house and face painting for children, and a respite care center for anyone whose caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who would like to join in — all for free and all available on site.

Donations to advance research and patient services supported by the Alzheimer’s Association will be collected at the registration tent and event T-shirts will be awarded to every walker who raises $100 or more for the association. Fundraising tips and more information about the walks, the work the Alzheimer’s Association does and services available for local patients and their families can be found online at www.alz.org or may be obtained by calling the regional association office at 928-4080 or toll free at 800-272-3900.

For those who cannot attend but would like to help, tax-deductible donations may be made online by mail to the Alzheimer’s Association, 207 N. Boone St., Suite 1500, Johnson City, TN 37604.

Kicking off the weekend, Friday is World Alzheimer’s Day, a day to wear purple in honor of the millions of people who have Alzheimer’s and the millions more who care for them. It’s also a day to eat at Mellow Mushroom, where 10 percent of every purchase made on Friday will go to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Climbing for a Cause, the region’s first benefit bicycle ride for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, will be held Saturday morning, beginning at 9 at East Tennessee State University.

Hosted by the JDRF’s East Tennessee Chapter in Knoxville and the Tri-Cities Road Club, the ride will include four alternate road courses to accommodate cyclists of all skill levels. The routes range from a challenging 100-mile course with 12,283 feet of climbs over Buffalo Mountain to Erwin, up Spivey Mountain and through Limestone Cove, to a leisurely, hill-free, 25-mile ride down Greenwood Drive to Lamar and back through Jonesborough.

Registration will open at 7 a.m. Saturday in ETSU’s parking lot behind Knight’s Pizza at State of Franklin Road and Vest Drive. The registration fee is $35.

Proceeds will go to the JDRF to advance research for better treatment, prevention and ultimately a cure for type 1 diabetes and the three million children, teens and adults it impacts. More information about the ride is available at www.tricitiesroadclub.org.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or 929-3111, ext. 335.

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