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Updated: 10/17/2013 08:00:02AM

Walk To End Alzheimer’s

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Winner of three awards was Comfort Keepers In-Home Care Agency. A plaque was presented for the 3,000 step sponsorship, the top fundraising team and the top fundraising participant. Team members are pictured at a display table at the start of the march.


Penny Kocarek (at right), an Alzheimer’s disease Advocate, sported purple hair for the event along with the signature purple T-shirt worn by staff and event attendees.


Purple was the color of the day at the downtown circle in Sebring for a Walk To End Alzheimer's held Saturday.


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The color purple has many meanings: royalty, mystery, wisdom and spirituality. It is said to stimulate the imagination and inspire high ideals. The Alzheimer’s Association uses the color purple in its literature and at its events. It seems appropriate as the people who are afflicted with disease should be treated like royalty.

Alzheimer’s is a mystery and wisdom is needed to help find a cure. But walk organizers say we also need to address the concept of spiritualty and stimulate the imagination of the loved one’s suffering along with them, hoping one day they will actually be able to celebrate a cure.

The historic circle in downtown Sebring was filled with purple T-shirts, purple hair and beautiful purple silk flowers Saturday for a Walk To End Alzheimer’s. The weather was picture-perfect; a clear blue sky and a gentle summer breeze. Music filled the air as the walkers geared up for the event to begin.

Attendees walked a three mile route in downtown Sebring. There were health care and other vendors providing refreshments and lots of information to those who came to walk or watch. Entertainment was also provided in the circle.

The purpose of this event was to raise awareness of those with Alzheimer’s disease and to raise funds for critical research — so a cure can be found. “Early onset Alzheimer’s is getting more common,” according to Nan Immel with Comfort Keepers Home Care. “At this event we want people to walk their heart out to help eradicate Alzheimer’s disease.”

Lisa Milne, vice president of programs with the Alzheimer’s Association, said “It’s a beautiful day to bring the awareness of Alzheimer’s disease to the Downtown Sebring Circle.”

Some very disturbing statistics were provided regarding Alzheimer’s disease cases in Highlands County. Here at home there are 4,110 estimated cases. The total population is 100,148. This means that one in every 24.4 people living in our county has some stage of Alzheimer’s disease. That number is projected to be nearly 6,000 by 2025.

Penny Kocarek, an Alzheimer’s disease Advocate, sported purple hair for the event along with the signature purple T-shirt worn by staff and event attendees. Kocarek was a caregiver for both of her parents with Alzheimer’s disease. “It was very difficult, but I would do it all again,” she said.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Every 68 seconds, someone in American develops this dreaded disease.