Emporians will band together this Sunday afternoon at the Lyon County Fairgrounds to take on one of the world’s most devastating illnesses.

Sponsored in part by the Emporia Presbyterian Manor, FHTC Nursing, Holiday Resort, Sunflower Care Homes, Wolf Creek and BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas, the 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s is seeking to raise a total of $30,000 to be used in research and treatment of the disease.

“The money raised during this walk stays in the [Alzheimer’s Association’s] Heart of America Chapter and all the counties included in it,” Alzheimer’s Association Walk Manager Megan Reichenberger said. “It goes toward helping us provide local programming and supporting things such as our national 24-hour hotline that people can call for help and referrals.”

So far, local participants have raised a little more than a third of the goal, but there is still plenty of room for additional teams. Walkers can register online at alzwalkemporia.org or in person the day of the event between 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. There is no cost to sign up, so groups are encouraged. Donations can also be made online at the same web address for those unable to attend.

The walk — which consists of a nearly two-mile route around the fairgrounds — will officially begin at 2:45 p.m., but attendees may want to show up early to take part in opening ceremonies.

“There will be a Promise Garden ceremony right before the walk,” Reichenberger said. “It’s a pretty unique thing that takes place, and everyone that attends will get a free flower. Walkers can pick a color that represents their relationship with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“Blue flowers represent someone that suffers from the disease, purple flowers are for those that have lost someone to Alzheimer’s, yellow flowers represent someone who is currently caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia and orange flowers are for general supporters who want to stand with us in our cause for a world without Alzheimer’s. One day, we hope to have someone wear a white flower to one of our walks, which would mean they’re one of the first survivors.”

Those with additional questions about the walk or donations to the Alzheimer’s Association can contact Reichenberger at 913-831-3888. The organization’s 24/7 help hotline can be reached at 800-272-3900 and allows callers to speak confidentially with master’s-level care consultants for decision-making support, crisis assistance and education on related issues.

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