On Sunday, September 29, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place in Birmingham. We met the two women spearheading the event, Kimberly Stephens and Michelle Lorino, to understand their story behind volunteering. Find out how you can get involved too.
Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. This inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against the disease.
Meet Kimberly Stephens and Michelle Lorino
Kimberly and Michelle are the event chairs for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a family friendly event, where the community comes together for a 2 mile fundraising walk, which takes place at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham on Sunday, September 29.
The Walk features a Promise Garden – a hands on mission-focused experience that allows participants to raise flowers representing their promise to remember, honor, care and fight for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.
Through color, these Promise Flowers represent the diverse motivations of our Walkers. Participants unite for a heartfelt opening ceremony prior to the walk. Together, the Promise Flowers create a dynamic, colorful and meaningful “garden”.
“Alzheimer’s disease runs in my family. My first experience with this disease was with my maternal grandmother. Who would have thought that many years later we would be faced with my aunt and my mother being diagnosed with the same disease. Last Easter, we lost my aunt, and on August 14, just a week ago, we lost my mother at only 66 years young. So, my connection to this disease is very personal. This is my way and my family’s way of fighting back. That’s my reason.”
Michelle, a lifelong friend of Kimberly, said,
“We’ve known each other all our lives. I know Kimberly’s family, I knew her mother, I knew her aunt that passed away. The Alzheimer’s Association approached Kimberly to get involved and volunteer with the organization. So, when they approached her to get involved with the Walk, she called me and asked me to help her. There was no question in my mind to do it with her. For me personally, my grandfather had dementia and passed away in 2005 and I have known several people that have been affected by the disease.”
Giving Back to the Community
For Kimberly and Michelle, the most rewarding thing about volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Association is simply about giving back to the local community by letting people know the organization exists.
“I feel like we are on a mission to bring attention to the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter letting the community know they have somewhere to turn to when a loved one gets the diagnosis. So many people aren’t aware of the free resources available – a 24/7 helpline, free care consultations and so on. The Alzheimer’s Association provides more support than people know.” said Kimberly.
More about the Walk to End Alzheimers on Sunday, September 29
The event for all ages and abilities and the walk route (2 miles) is wheelchair accessible. Friendly dogs are welcome on a leash.
“When you participate with the Walk, all of the fundraising dollars fuel the mission and the participation with the event helps raise awareness in the community. There’s no fee to register, but we encourage everyone to fund-raise in order to contribute to the cause and raise awareness because these dollars do go to research but they also go to local support.”
To Register: 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Heart of Alabama
Location: Sloss Furnaces 20 32nd St N. Birmingham, AL 35222
Route Distance: 2 Miles
Date: Sunday, September 29
Time: Registration at 1:00 pm, Walk Ceremony at 3:00pm, Walk at 3:15pm (rain or shine)
Other details: Family friendly event. Food & Entertainment.
How you can help the Alzheimer’s Association
Simply directing people towards the Alzheimer’s Association can be a great asset to family, friends or colleagues who have been or are being affected by Alzheimer’s in one way or another, explained Michelle, who added,
“Registering for the walk and participating is a good way to help raise funding and awareness. If you can’t make it, you can also help be sponsoring somebody that’s taking part. Together, we can #EndAlzheimers”.
To learn more about volunteering opportunities, click HERE.
More about the Alabama Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alabama Chapter is the premier source of information and support for Alabamians living with dementia and their families and caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a broad range of programs and services, including a free 24/7 Helpline, funds advancements for research and advocates on behalf of Alabamians on related legislative issues.
The Alzheimer’s Association: Alabama Chapter is located at 2151 Highland Ave S, Suite 210, Birmingham, AL 35205. Learn more about the Alabama Chapter.
Follow @endalzbhamal on social media and use their hashtags: #EndAlz, #EndAlzBhamAL and #Walk2EndAlz