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Steps taken in city for Alzheimer’s Walk

This photo, courtesy of Dana Corwin, is of her late mother, Yvonne “Vonnie” Jerman.

The Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter is planning the annual Chautauqua County Walk to End Alzheimer’s to take place in Point Gratiot Park in Dunkirk this month.

All in-person events will implement safety protocols including physical distancing, contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more. Masks are welcome and will be available on-site. Organizers will continue to closely monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local guidelines to ensure walk events adhere to recommendations and are safe for attendees. For those who prefer to participate by walking from home, around their neighbors or on a favorite trail, they can still engage in many walk-day experiences through the walk website and mobile app. Information about the app is available in the Walk Participation Center when participants register at alz.org/WNYwalk.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is critical to the chapter’s efforts to provide care and support for all impacted by dementia across Chautauqua County, as well as Allegany, Cattaraugus, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Money raised by Walk participants ensures the chapter can continue to provide free education programs, support groups, respite training services, a 24/7 Helpline, research and more.

Among those who will be participating in the Dunkirk Walk on Saturday, Sept. 25, is Dana Corwin. The Mayville resident leads the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging Walk team in memory of mother, Yvonne “Vonnie” Jerman, who passed away in 2017.

“I think I have been at a champion level in fundraising ($500 and above) for many years now as it is a legacy to her memory,” Corwin said. “Mom would be very proud of my daughters, who are pursuing careers in the medical-services fields because of the love and care we provided her while she was living with Alzheimer’s disease.”

A key feature of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the Promise Garden ceremony, a mission-focused experience that symbolizes the fight against the disease with colorful pinwheel flowers. The flowers come in four colors, which represent a connection to the disease: blue is for those living with dementia, yellow signifies a care partner, purple honors those lost to the disease and orange illustrates support for our fight to end Alzheimer’s. Dana says she was particularly moved when her mom joined her for Walks in the early years and carried a blue flower to symbolize her battle with dementia.

There are no fees to attend, but as this event is the major means of support for the non-profit Alzheimer’s Association, fundraising is strongly encouraged and incentives are offered for meeting specific goals, including the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s purple t-shirt. Free registration is available at alz.org/WNY. Once registered, participants have access to the online participant center from which they can share their efforts and progress on social media, create personal fundraising emails, share photos or videos of the reasons they are walking and more.

For additional information and to inquire about corporate sponsorship, call Lynn Westcott during traditional business hours at 440-4251 or send an email to LWestcott@alz.org.

Walks are also scheduled in Buffalo on Sept. 18, in Batavia on Sept. 25, in Lewiston and Allegany on Oct. 2 and on Oct. 9 in Medina.

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