Fundraising to fight Alzheimer's disease nears $80000 Macon County goal

DECATUR — Those raising money to fight Alzheimer’s disease hope to make the final stretch to their fundraising goal by the end of the year after another well-attended Walk to End Alzheimer’s earlier this month.  

The goal for the event and other local fundraising efforts is to raise $80,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, $70,216.73 of which has come in, said Tina Prather, senior manager of special events for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Illinois chapter.

About $13,000 came in at the annual event in Fairview Park, with participating teams raising the rest in donations beforehand.

“Additional funds raised will continue to fund support services and educational programs in the Decatur and Macon County area,” Prather said in an email. “We currently provide support groups to families and caregivers, a 24/7 helpline to those who have questions, and continue to provide community education to the public.

“These funds will help all of these services continue to be free and open to everyone.”

More than 400 people took part in the Oct. 7 event, most carrying different-colored flower pinwheels to symbolize their relationship to the disease. Purple pinwheels are carried in honor of someone lost to Alzheimer’s; yellow is a current caregiver; orange represents an advocate or supporter; and blue pinwheels are carried by those who have the disease.

For Stephanie Augustine, the walk was a reason to get up in the morning, said her sister, Diana Clark.

Augustine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. After one of her caregivers suggested taking part in the annual event, her family and friends began doing so as “Team Stephanie” three years ago, said Diana Clark, Augustine’s sister.

This year, Augustine was adamant that the team’s matching shirts should be orange, and she was delighted on Saturday morning when she saw Clark come in with one of them.

“She was so excited,” Clark said. “She has difficulty getting in and out of bed, and she was all for getting out of bed as quick as she could.”

The walk in Decatur is in its ninth year. For the double-digit anniversary next year, Prather said organizers are planning a special event, complete with a memory wall featuring every team that has participated over the past decade.

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