Walking for memories

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect millions of people across the country.

Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk set for Sept. 19 in Silverdale.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect millions of people across the country.

And hundreds of people will gather at Silverdale Waterfront Park next weekend to walk for those millions.

“It brings awareness to the forefront that Alzheimer’s and dementia are a very prevalent problem in our nation,” said Bill Cole, of Bill Cole Retirement Planning in Silverdale.

Cole is one of many who will participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Olympic Peninsula Memory Walk Saturday, Sept. 19. He has participated in the past four local Memory Walk events and walked in California events before that.

“I am proud to, once again, be a part of this nationwide effort. Alzheimer’s disease is devastating to individuals and their families,” he said. “Unless something is done, the number of Americans with the disease — five million, currently — will swell to include up to 10 million of the aging baby boomers.”

Cole is a Genworth Financial agent and Genworth is a national sponsor of the Memory Walk and the largest provider of long-term care insurance in the nation.

“Not that insurance solves the problem, but it definitely helps with the long-term care,” Cole said.

Memory Walk events are held in nearly 600 communities nationwide and serve as the largest annual fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association and its education, research and advocacy efforts.

Since 1989, more than $260 million has been raised through the events, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It’s a great community venture. It brings out the kids and older people,” Cole said.

As of Wednesday, local Memory Walk participants had raised $12,692 for the cause.

“It’s a big walk. It does get a lot of participation,” Cole said.

Cole said Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have the chance to affect even more people in the future if more education and research isn’t done.

“Since we’re all living longer, we’re starting to experience a lot of older-age diseases,” he said.

The Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 at Silverdale Waterfront Park. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.

For more information, to register or donate to a Memory Walk participant, visit www.alz.org. All contributions are tax-deductible.