TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — Each fall, people from across the country participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to raise donations, in hopes of finding a cure.
This year, due to the pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association is having to get creative with the walks, so they’re taking them virtual. There’s are no central meeting locations, but instead, people are participating in their own individual walks, starting at their doorstep.
“My mom is 72 years old, and she’s been battling dementia for more than 15 years,” said Kim Bittle, whose mother is living with dementia.
Kim Bittle is planning to walk this Saturday for the Pinellas County Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Brooker Creek Preserve.
“My mom loved nature, so we’ve chosen to come walk at a nature preserve,” said Bittle.
This year, Bittle’s family faced the difficult decision to place her mother Vicki in a care facility.
“We actually moved her in the week that everything was shutting down with the pandemic, so I haven’t been able to visit her since move-in at the beginning of March,” said Bittle.
While the pandemic has stopped her from seeing her mother in person, it isn’t stopping her from walking for her, in hopes of one day finding a cure.
“I don’t wish it for any other family, obviously, and that’s why I have chosen to participate in the walk for the last eight years,” said Bittle.
The Alzheimer’s Association organizes Walks to End Alzheimer’s across the country every year. This year, thousands of Floridians are participating, including right here in the Tampa Bay area, starting with Pinellas County on Saturday.
“Some people are walking on the beach, some people are walking downtown, so it’s really up to them where they decide to walk and spread awareness, and wear their purple,” said Michelle Olson, Development Manager at the Alzheimer’s Association.
These walks are the association’s largest fundraisers, and they help to continue providing free services to families dealing with the disease.
“Just knowing that you’re not alone, to be able to talk about what you’re experiencing, and how the disease is developing in your loved one, is so important,” said Bittle.
So for now, they’ll walk.
If you’d like to join a walk, or donate to the Alzheimer’s Association, click here.