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Benedictine Living Community participates in Walk to End Alzheimer's

Updated: September 11, 2020 06:23 PM

Staff and residents from the Benedictine Living community were happy to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's Friday.

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Due to COVID-19 the walk is being done differently this year. Instead of hosting a large gathering, participants will walk individually, with family, or in small teams and choose the path they want. 

Although the walk in Duluth is set for Saturday, Benedictine Living Community chose to do it Friday so residents could also participate. The group walked across the campus of the College of St. Scholastica. Some of the residents walked, were driven in a golf cart, or were in wheel chairs pushed by staff. Staff said the cause is important to them.

"That's a driving force for us because so many of our residents do have some association or have been afflicted by various diseases associated with the Alzheimer's Association," said Merry Wallin, the marketing director for the Benedictine Living Community.

Staff and residents wore purple, face masks, and rang cowbells as they walked to support the Alzheimer's Association's efforts for care, support and research of the disease.

"For us, we work day to day with various degrees of Alzheimer's here at the Benedictine Living. It's important for us to be able to hopefully find a cure but also to help with information to inform people and educate people," said Wallin.

The Benedictine Living Community raised over $10,000 for the cause. The Alzheimer's Association chapter in Duluth said raising funds is important, especially now.

"Alzheimer's disease doesn't stop with COVID and neither do we. The Alzheimer's Association has seen triple the number of referrals since the beginning of COVID in March and this is due to the fact that caregivers are isolated in their own homes or can't see their loved ones in senior living facilities," said Brenda Conley, the community engagement manager for the Alzheimer's Association in Duluth.

The money raised goes to much needed research as well as services to families living with the disease. Someone who has used those services is Aubrey Hagen. She's a volunteer for the Alzheimer's Association. Her mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's six years ago.

"It's a very just powerless and helpless feeling just feeling like you can't really do anything. There's no cure yet, there's very little treatment options, so feeling like I could do something really proactive by helping with the walk and helping raise money, it has just been a really wonderful experience for me," said Hagen.

Hagen said it has been hard to see the changes of her mom. The cause hits close to home and is the reason she volunteers and helps the Alzheimer's Association.

"I just want to feel like i'm doing something to help her. I may not see a cure within my lifetime, I hope I do, but anything that I can do to try to get to that first survivor of Alzheimer's disease, I know my mom would want that," said Hagen.

The walk in Duluth starts Saturday at 10:30 a.m. WDIO is a sponsor of the event and will have a team participating in the walk Saturday.

The opening ceremony for the walk will air on-line at 10:00 a.m. Saturday. The link will be on the walk website act.alz.org/twinports.

There will be a drive-by Promise Garden along Harbor Drive across from the DECC by the William A. Irvin. Flowers will be displayed representing why people walk.

Click here to learn more about the walk and how to donate to the cause.

Those in need of help and support can reach the Alzheimer's Assocation 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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