Teams participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Detroit Zoo last year. The event will take place Saturday, Aug. 24, this year.

Teams participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at the Detroit Zoo last year. The event will take place Saturday, Aug. 24, this year.

Photo provided by Kristin Rossi

Walk to End Alzheimer’s to return to Detroit Zoo

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 13, 2019


ROYAL OAK — On Aug. 24, thousands of walkers will join together at the Detroit Zoo in conjunction with more than 600 communities across the country to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Currently, there is no cure for the disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is an epidemic, with more than 5 million Americans living with the disease and 1 in 3 seniors dying with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

The day will begin early. Registration will begin at 7 a.m., the opening ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m., and the walk will start at 8:50 a.m. Participants will have the opportunity to stroll the 1.8-mile route and visit zoo animals before the zoo opens to the public.

While the event is free, organizers encourage a $25 donation and for those involved to raise funds and bring attention to the cause. At press time, 2,541 participants had raised $361,572 of the walk’s $900,000 goal.

“We encourage people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to help us take the first step towards a world without Alzheimer’s by joining us for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s,” Jennifer Lepard, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter, stated in a press release. “It is estimated that this year alone, the disease will cost the nation $290 billion. This event helps us provide care and support for the 190,000 Michiganders affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and helps us to fund important research to end this terrible disease.”

Chuck Gaidica, former WDIV weatherman, will chair this year’s event. Gaidica recently lost his mother due to complications related to Alzheimer’s disease, according to the press release.

The walk will also offer a variety of family-friendly activities, including a kids zone with coloring pages, temporary tattoos and glitter hair art, as well as photo areas and music.

Those who raise $100 or more will receive a T-shirt, and all registrants will receive a wristband and a Promise Garden pinwheel flower on walk day.

Pinwheel flowers come in four colors to represent the individual’s connection to the disease: blue for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, purple for someone who has lost a loved one to the disease, yellow for caregivers, and orange for anyone who supports the cause and a vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

Kristin Rossi, vice president of development and communications for the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Michigan Chapter, said both of her grandmothers had a certain type of dementia that went undiagnosed and that she walks for them, as well as for her mother and her aunt, who were their primary caregivers.

“This disease can be really daunting, but this is our time to celebrate everyone coming together in the fight against the disease,” Rossi said. “There’s entertainment throughout the walk, including tap dancers, violinists and various different acts.”

The Detroit Zoo is located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, west of Woodward Avenue.

Additional parking is available off-site at the Oakland Community College parking garage, 739 S. Washington Ave. in downtown Royal Oak. From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 24, free shuttle service will be available from the parking structure to the zoo.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association or to register for the walk, visit or call (248) 351-0280.

About Alzheimer’s disease:

• Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 145%.

• Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women.

• 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

• There are more than 16 million caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the United States.

• More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease.

• In the United States, someone develops Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds.

• In 2019, Alzheimer’s disease will cost the United States $290 billion. This number is projected to rise to more than $1.1 trillion in 2050.

Data provided by the Alzheimer’s Association