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More than 1,600 residents and 250 teams from the North Shore and surrounding communities participated in this year’s Northeastern Massachusetts Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, October 2 at Brickstone Square in Andover. Participants raised more than $490,000 towards the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It is inspiring to see so many community members come together to share in this special event and take steps for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and all other dementia,” says Jim Wessler, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter.

Though the official walk day has passed, those wishing to support the campaign can still participate. The association is continuing to raise critical funds and awareness with the goal of reaching $600,000 by the end of the year. Individuals are encouraged to still register, walk in their own neighborhoods, and continue to fundraise.

On the day of the walk, participants honored those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony. When checking in, each walker was asked to selected a colorful flower-shaped pinwheel and write a message on it sharing the reason they are walking in the event. During the opening ceremony, all are asked to hold their flowers up, creating a dynamic sea of color signifying solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s – their personal reasons to end the disease.

The walk in Andover was just one of hundreds of events held nationwide by the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is a leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 11 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Massachusetts alone, there are more than 130,000 people living with the disease and 284,000 caregivers.

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