First Posted: 9/26/2012 7:24:08 AM | Last Updated: 9/26/2012 7:53:36 AM
WEST LAFAYETTE -- Rick Barnhart, former principal of Miller Elementary School, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010.
Since then, Barnhart’s wife, Carla, and their family have participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s® to honor him and support the fight to end this devastating disease at noon Sunday, Sept. 30 at Cumberland Park.
Carla Barnhart explained her inspiration to walk saying, "I want to support Alzheimer's disease research so other families don't have to go through the heart-wrenching effects of this disease".
Flip DiFabio, a former Lafayette firefighter, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at 57 years old. For nearly five years, his family tried to determine what was wrong. Doctors first suspected attention deficit disorder and depression, but ultimately determined DiFabio had dementia.
“Doing the Walk, for us, is to first, help find a cure. Second, it is such an important tool for raising awareness that younger people do get this disease,” Flip DiFabio’s wife, Becky, said.
The Barnharts and the DiFabios will be among the 450 expected participants at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s is more than a walk. It is an experience for residents in Lafayette who will learn about Alzheimer's disease and how to get involved with this critical cause, from advocacy opportunities, the latest in Alzheimer’s research and clinical trial enrollment to support programs and services.
Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic and is now the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. As baby boomers age, the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease will rapidly escalate, increasing well beyond today’s estimated 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's registrants will participate in the walk and will learn more about Alzheimer's disease, advocacy opportunities, clinical trial enrollment, and support programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association.
In addition to the Walk, registrants will receive a Promise Flower, making a commitment to fulfill their promise to remember, to honor, to care and to fight Alzheimer’s disease by participating in the Promise Garden. Through color, these Promise Flowers represent the diverse reasons participants have gathered, and each Promise Flower will carry a personally hand-written message to further strengthen their dedication.
Walkers who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s will receive purple flowers. Caregivers and those walking in honor of an individual living with the disease will receive yellow flowers. Individuals with the disease will receive blue flowers. Those who may not have a personal connection to the disease, but support our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s receive orange flowers.
Prior to walking, participants will come together for a heartfelt ceremony. Together, the Promise Flowers create a dynamic, colorful and meaningful garden. Participants are then welcome to carry their Promise Flowers with them as they walk, and take their Promise Flowers home to remember their Walk experiences and their loved ones.
Last year’s Lafayette Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised over to $63,000. This year’s goal is $76,000.
“There has never been a greater need for the citizens of Lafayette to join in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease by participating in Walk to End Alzheimer’s,” said Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter Executive Director Heather Hershberger. “Funds raised will provide care and support services to the 120,000 residents of Indiana living with Alzheimer’s, while also contributing to advancing critically-needed research.”
The end of Alzheimer’s disease starts here. Start or join a team today at alz.org/Indiana or call 800-272-3900.
About the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s: The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s – the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death.