PALM DESERT, CA (MARCH 1, 2014) – In spite of the threatening rain storms, an estimated 1,000 people from across the Coachella Valley came together today with area businesses for the 15th annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the Palm Desert Civic Center Park.
The important local event raises awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease and dementia through the Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter. The annual walk supports the Coachella Valley Regional Service Center which was first founded in 1998 by local activists, Edie Keller and Pat Kaplan, who were honored this year.
As rainclouds mounted just before the noon closing ceremonies, organizers announced that the walk reached $115,000, naming Janet Harris of Sherman’s Deli and Bakery, the top individual fund raiser, and Sherman’s Walkers the top family-and-friends team, earning close to $10,000.
Second highest individual fund raiser was Joan Schulman with more than $8,000, who was team captain for Eisenhower Five Star Club, which was the top corporate team bringing in more than $35,000. Competition for fundraising prizes was especially spirited during this 15th anniversary year. Funds are continuing to come in and donation lines are still open.
Walkers stepped off for the two-mile walk mid-morning after the Eisenhower Five Star Club team; Keller; and Palm Desert Mayor Van Tanner, cut the ribbon.
Many wearing this year’s purple commemorative T-shirt flooded under the balloon arch starting line cheered on by Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Desert Hot Springs high schools cheer teams.
Jenifer Daniels of KPSP-TV (CBS Local 2) was again emcee at this year’s event, which included live music from the Delgado Band, a performance by popular smooth jazz saxophonist Will Donato, box lunches courtesy of Sherman's Deli and Atria Hacienda, a festival area with wellness exhibits and children’s activities, a silent auction, opportunity drawings, dog bowls & treats, and awards.
Family Hospice Care, Atria Hacienda, The Desert Sun, Uno de 50, Eisenhower Medical Center, Sherman’s Deli and Custom Care Solutions were among the many businesses supporting the Walk.
There are nearly 11,000 individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's in the Coachella Valley. In the U.S., more than 5 million people currently live with Alzheimer’s, including more than half a million in California. Experts estimate that someone in America develops Alzheimer's disease every 68 seconds. By mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds.
Contact the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org/socal or (760) 328-6767.