They were hard to miss in their bright green shirts.

They were hard to miss in their bright green shirts.
But for the more than 250 area residents who took to the sidewalks along Broadway on Saturday, it wasn’t about standing out, but rather standing up for a noble cause.
The eighth annual Southeast Kansas Memory Walk, the signature fundraiser for the Heart of America chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, took place on Saturday. The hundreds who participated walked two miles from Immigrant Park to Pittsburg Community Middle School and back as a show of support in the ongoing battle against Alzheimer’s disease, an illness with which more than 5 million Americans are living.
More than 200,000 people nationwide were expected to take part in Memory Walks throughout the United States.
“A lot more attention still needs brought to this disease,” said local resident Luella Stwalley, an annual participant in the walk. “I think this event is great because we are getting the word out, which is very important.”
Organizers estimate a fundraising total this year of more than $11,000, matching that amount raised in 2008. As an added bonus this year, the event took place under sunny skies.
“The last three years, we’ve walked in the rain,” said event co-chair Suzie Sexton. “Everyone was faithful and did it. This year, the weather is beautiful. We’re all really excited. This is probably one of the largest turnouts we’ve had.”
Proceeds from the event help fund programs dedicated to the fight against Alzheimer’s. Sexton said support groups, caregiver conferences and a resource library are a few examples of the programs that benefit from the funds raised.
Liz Thornton, activities director at Golden Living Center, has participated in the walk since its inception. She said she loves to walk, but enjoys more the chance to raise funds and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease — an illness she sees affect people on a regular basis.
“Working with the residents (at GLC) and seeing how their memories just slip away from them,” she said, “I know this is a good cause for raising money to do research for.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every 70 seconds and Alzheimer’s is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S.
For more information about Alzheimer’s disease and information about the Memory Walk, visit www.alz.org.