Cold temperatures and cloudy skies didn’t put a damper on the moods of all of those who showed up to participate in the Alzheimer’s Walk on the Keene State College campus Saturday, October 3, 2015.
Appian Way overflowed with supporters wearing purple, the awareness color of Alzheimer’s disease, and spirits were high as participants walked across campus and then down Main Street to raise awareness.
“Alzheimer’s won’t back down, and neither will we,” were the encouraging words of Heather Carroll, Regional Manager for the state of New Hampshire Alzheimer’s Association, as she addressed the crowd gathered in front of the L.P. Young Student Center on campus.
Carroll, who has been a part of setting up the KSC-hosted walk for the past four years, said that the event has been going on for much longer in Keene.
“It’s a fantastic event that gets held every year,” Carroll said, “There’s such a sense of pride that goes along with this, between KSC and all of our collective partners here in the area.”
Carroll said that she is thankful to KSC for hosting the walk every year.
“We love to see the inter-generational involvement,” Carroll explained, “We’ve got all ages from six months to 101 years old. And there [are] so many KSC students helping out and participating as well.”
KSC students, like Brittany LaFleur and Anna Wright.
LaFleur, who is a Resident Assistant on campus, said that she gathered residents along with another RA to volunteer the morning of the walk.
This is LaFleur’s second time volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Walk.
“It’s really great to meet people from all different backgrounds,” LaFleur said regarding why she decided
to participate again this year, “My grandfather has Alzheimer’s, so this is significant to me, but it’s also super meaningful to hear everyone else’s story.”
Wright is a member of the sorority Delta Xi Phi, and said that this was her first year volunteering at the walk.
Wright said, “I think it’s a really great thing. We have people commuting from all over the state, from all over New England really, to come out and support the cause.”
There were also participants like Keene resident Kate Cote, who said they were walking for personal reasons.
“I’m walking today for my father who passed away last year,” Cote explained.
Cote continued, “We’re trying to raise funds to find out why people get Alzheimer’s. No one really knows. There are so many unknowns with the disease, and I’m just trying to support the cause – to see what we can do to help prevent it.”
This year marked Cote’s fourth Alzheimer’s Walk at Keene.
Another participant, Rindge, NH resident Jean Kundert, said she was able to raise over three thousand dollars to donate directly to the cause.
Kundert works in community relations at the Summer Hill Assisted Living facility in Peterborough, NH and said that she was inspired by her residents.
“Residents’ families chipped in, and we baked about seventy apple pies to sell. The residents here were really great about it too, some of them cutting apples for up to four hours at a time,” Kundert explained regarding how the team of coworkers, friends and residents of Summer Hill managed to raise so much money this year.
According to Kundert, each year the Summer Hill team tries to raise more money than the year before, and this year they went above and beyond.
“Hopefully next year, we’ll be able to raise even more,” Kundert said.
Kundert continued, “I love this event. Getting the word out is exactly what we need.”
Kundert said she is proud to participate in the Alzheimer’s Walk, and is looking forwardto participating in years to come.
“Everybody is great. We’re all very patient with our residents at Summer Hill,” Kundert said, “I love working there. We’re part of a family.”
The Alzheimer’s Association is open 24/7 with a helpline at 1-800-272-3900, offering professional help to caregivers, families and people with dementia.
Jill can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org