Calais’ 9th Annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s Set for Sept. 20

By Jayna Smith

Volunteers at the 2013 St. Croix Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the event’s “Promise Garden.”

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.  Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, Calais will again be the host of one of eight such walks in Maine.  The St. Croix Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Calais is set to take place Saturday, September 20.

Event organizer Dawn Winchester reported that this is the ninth year of the walk being held in Calais and each year gets bigger and better.  “Our first year was in 2008 and we had 28 who participated.  Last year we had nearly 150 walkers take part and raised just about $15,000,” she said.   This year’s goal for the Calais event is $21,500. 

Always powerful to see, each Walk to End Alzheimer’s features a Promise Garden.  “Every registered walker receives a Promise Garden flower,” Winchester said.  “Each different colored flower represents a different role of the walker with regards to Alzheimer’s.”  She explained that a blue flower is representative of one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, purple is for one who has lost a loved one to the disease, yellow is for a current caretaker or supporter of one with Alzheimer’s, and orange is for anyone supporting the cause and vision of a world without Alzheimer’s. 

As in years past, the St. Croix Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s will proceed along the beautiful Calais Riverfront Walkway after a walk down Main Street to Barker Street.  This easy 2.5 mile stroll will again have water and refreshments donated by Hannaford throughout the walk and during the closing ceremony.  Additionally, great prizes can be won through purchased tickets at the Chinese auction.  “We have some great items in the Chinese auction, as well as separate raffle items including a handmade quilt donated by employees at Maine Veterans’ Home, an afghan made and donated by Shirley Hold, and so much more,” Winchester stated. 

All funds raised through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s further the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association, a 501(c)3 organization.  All donations are tax-deductible and each walker earns a free t-shirt when raising $100 or more.  “Everyone should come, see the Promise Garden, check out the many items up for raffle.  If one can’t take part in the actual walk, they can still attend to support those that do walk,” Winchester said, adding that all ages are invited to participate in the rain-or-shine held event and leashed dogs are welcomed as well.

The St. Croix Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s will again begin at the Wabanaki Cultural Center at 10:00 a.m., with registration for individuals and teams beginning at 8:30 a.m.  Online registration and additional information is available at www.alz.org and on the Facebook page St. Croix Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s.