LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Every year, the Walk to End Alzheimer's is held at PNC Field in Moosic and brings nearly 1,000 people out. Although the Alzheimer's Association's largest fundraiser will not be at the baseball stadium this weekend, it will be everywhere else.
"You can't come to PNC Field, and you can't walk around the stadium like you are used to. People are walking in neighborhoods, on college campuses, people are walking outside of skilled nursing facilities," said Ryan Schofield, Alzheimer's Association Greater PA Chapter.
"Walk is Everywhere" is the theme for this year. The opening ceremony will be held virtually, and then walkers are encouraged to take that mile walk wherever they can.
"What is so cool about this is that I have people in Ohio, California, Washington DC, North Carolina, and also locally that will be walking and supporting us through this," explained Cyndi Coleman, a registered nurse and one of this year's team captains and walk chairs.
The lawn at the Everhart Museum will also be covered with flowers on Saturday, keeping the tradition of the Promise Garden alive.
"Our walkers have such a connection to the Promise Garden ceremony, and especially they have a connection to their particular flower color. Even though we couldn't ship a Promise Garden flower to all of our walkers, it was important that they get to see them and drive by it and still maybe get some pictures," Schofield explained.
The color of each flower represents one's connection to the disease. People living with Alzheimer's or dementia hold blue flowers. Supporters and caregivers hold yellow flowers. Purple flowers represent having lost someone from the disease. People committed to supporting the cause hold orange flowers. The purpose is to one day add white flowers to the Promise Garden, representing survivors of Alzheimer's.
Despite the pandemic, the fight to make that happen still carries on this year. There are nearly 400 people registered for this year's walk.
"I'm unendingly moved by our volunteers, team captains, our sponsors. No one is having an easy year. We aren't the only ones having a difficult time this year," Schofield said.