Belleville’s “incredible” response to its first walk on Saturday morning has the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter convinced “this community is ready to commit.”
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised more than $50,000 over the Alzheimer’s Association’s stated goal of $15,000. Stacy Tew-Lovasz, president of the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter, said the chapter had recently done a new walk in another community with good result and based its expectation on that walk.
“We had some connections in Belleville, so we thought we were raising the goal at $15,000,” she said.
Instead, the organization raised more than $75,000 from more than 65 teams, and about 500 came to the walk. A walk on Sept. 26 in Edwardsville typically has 800 to 1,000 people, Tew-Lovasz said, and that walk has been in Edwardsville for about 12 years. She said the organization expected to lose a few teams from Edwardsville to Belleville, but found instead that “it’s a new community to us that has all this potential and capacity to give back and do something about this disease.”
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Money raised goes toward care, support, research and advocacy. New programs in the Belleville area include Living With Alzheimer’s, a nine-month educational program for caregivers and patients, and a Cardinals Reminisce League, a way for Alzheimer’s patients to get together and talk about the St. Louis Cardinals.
“At this point, we’re thrilled with the funds... but now it’s all about connecting people to the disease,” Tew-Lovasz said.
The Saturday walk also gave Tew-Lovasz and other association members an opportunity to meet some of the families affected by the disease.
“It was fun for me to walk around and see people, and how many multi-generation teams” supported the event, Tew-Lovasz said. “To see three generations of people that said, ‘This was very important to us.’”