More than $11,700 raised during Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Beckley

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – People all across Southern West Virginia are participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. 

Alzheimer’s affects millions of Americans. Every year to show support, people participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This year the walks are encouraged to be done by individuals in their own communities to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

According to Debbie Peyton, a volunteer coordinator with Raleigh General Hospital, volunteers joined to hold a flower garden presentation. 

“We can’t do the walk as a group. So what we wanted to do was still do the flower garden presentation, so we can remember what it’s for and what everybody’s cause is to be here,” Peyton said. 

The flower garden represents those suffering from the disease. Purple symbolizes the loss of a loved one, yellow is for a caregiver, blue is for someone living with it and orange is for general support. 

“This has been so close to my heart for so long. My dad died with Alzheimer’s. He lived with it for the last seven years of his life. And I’m just now to the point where I can talk about it without crying. I always feel like I lost my dad twice. Once to Alzheimer’s and then again when he actually passed.”

A few dozen people were present at the flower garden presentation, each with their flower to represent how Alzheimer’s affects them. They plant their flowers in the garden to give onlookers a chance to show their support. 

“I don’t think people realize you lose the ability to swallow, you lose the ability to talk, you can’t walk. It’s a very depleting disease that if we don’t find a cure for quickly, it’s going to affect millions and millions more.”

There were two flower gardens in Southern West Virginia this weekend. One at Raleigh General Hospital, and one at the West Virginia Welcome Center in Mt. Hope. The goal of the yearly walk is to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. This year the Raleigh General team raised more than $11,700 from the community. 

More than 5 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer’s, including 38,000 West Virginians.