By ALZ SB
Nearly 450 area residents participated in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Santa Barbara on Saturday, November 5, 2022.
The event raised more than $135,000 to fund research and free local services throughout the Central Coast, including support groups, education programs, care consultations and a 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) in both English and Spanish.
On Walk day, families and teams came together at Chase Palm Park to experience the poignant Promise Flower ceremony, emceed by Gabriella Garcia. During the ceremony, different Walk participants spoke about their personal connection to the cause, represented by various Promise Flower colors: purple, for losing a loved one to the disease; yellow, for caring for a loved one with the disease; blue, for living with the disease; and orange, for supporting the cause of a world without the disease.
Towards the end of the ceremony, Garcia’s son, Luca, held up a single white flower, representing the future’s first survivor of the disease.
Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse began the countdown as participants held up their Promise Flowers together and embarked on the Walk route along E Cabrillo Blvd.
The top fundraising team at this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s was Alzheimer’s Women’s Initiative, raising more than $16,400 in support of the cause. Other top teams included Team Carpinteria, Team Union Bank and Carpinteria Morning Rotary.
The Walk is supported by the hard work of a volunteer committee, chaired by Gabriella Garcia. Committee members include Pam Bigelow, Heather Cass, Karen Dacome, Michelle Figueroa, Jill Fonte, Amie Parrish, Hal Price, Jodi Wilson-Price, David Steinberg and Central Coast Chapter Board Chair Katina Zaninovich.
“We all know someone that has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia,” said Lindsey Leonard, Alzheimer’s Association California Central Coast Chapter executive director. “The strong turnout at the Walk reflected how much of a priority it is for people to come together in support of each other, raise awareness, and to unite efforts to further our cause.”
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
In California alone, there are more than 690,000 people living with the disease and 1.12 million family caregivers.