Photography and Text by Amanda Gisonni
WALK TO END ALZ
I had the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It was hard not to catch the fever and excitement shared by the participants of this philanthropy. Walkers were thrilled and excited. They were ready to take up arms and diminish dementia. And indeed their efforts were fruitful. Together they raised over 1 million dollars for Alzheimer’s research.
Flower pinwheels, held by participants, studded the air. Blue represents those suffering from dementia; these were rare. Purple—the most prevalent—is for individuals who lost loved ones to the disease. Yellow represents those in attendance who currently support or care for an individual with Alzheimer’s. Orange is for anyone who is a supporter of the cause to eliminate Alzheimer’s from the world.
I had the opportunity to sit down with three individuals—a mother and her two daughters—to discuss their experiences with the disease. They explained that they had lost their grandmother to the disease. They held purple flowers while walking to support the cause.
How did the disease affect you?
“Our grandma wasn’t the same person we grew up with. She struggled to remember us,” said the second daughter.
What do you remember most about your grandmother?
“Her smile,” they agreed.
What do you like most about the Walk to End Alz?
“How hopeful and motivated everyone is,” said the first daughter.
The mother and other daughter were in agreement. Participants exuded an overwhelming feeling of hope. And although some were sad at the loss of loved ones there was a sense of determination to not let the disease change their perceptions of there loved ones.
About the Author: Amanda Gisonni is a senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2016.