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Alzheimer’s walk kick-off staged

A fairly large number of people attends the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter kick-off event Thursday evening for the 2018 Marquette Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Marquette. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — The Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter hosted its kick-off event for the 2018 Marquette Walk to End Alzheimer’s Thursday evening in the city of Marquette.

The walk itself will not take place until Sept. 8, at the Jacobetti Complex on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

The kick-off served as a way to generate interest, distribute information and streamline the registration process for interested participants. The association held an informal forum and provided appetizers along with a cash bar.

“What we are really trying to do is grow support for research and bring awareness to our local communities,” said Jake Bilodeau, regional director for the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter. “This (kick-off) is one effort that we have in place to grow awareness, and I think that throughout the whole (Upper Peninsula) there are many people who are affected and challenged by this disease, and I would say it is not always easy to talk about it. This puts it into the public forum so that we are creating awareness.”

During the evening, people had the opportunity to register for the event and the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter passed out fundraising supplies, shared fundraising team recruitment ideas and gave out the 2018 team captain kits. Resources about Alzheimer’s care programs were made available at an information table. This year the association set a goal of $55,000 for the Marquette walk.

“The vast majority of the funds are going to research and that goes for all the walks in the country,” Bilodeau said. “It is our biggest fundraiser that we have and we really can’t reach our goal of finding a survivor of Alzheimer’s disease without furthering the research process.”

Last year, more than 180,000 Michiganders were living with the disease and more than 500,000 residents are serving as caretakers. Marie Ross, a care counselor with the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter, spoke at the event about the importance of funding research.

“It’s a group effort, we’re all in this together,” she said. “The only way to help these individuals is by doing this together.”

For more information, to volunteer or donate visit act.alz.org/walk or contact Bilodeau at 906-250-1284.