By Raychel Stewart
For The Signal
Santa Clarita residents joined the 2-mile Walk to End Alzheimer’s held by the Alzheimer’s Association at Bridgeport Park on Saturday.
The annual event brought in more than 700 participants and raised more than $130,000 in donations, which are expected to go toward research and support given by the Alzheimer’s Association.
“My grandma battled with Alzheimer’s for eight years,” said James Schramm, chair of the SCV walk. “I remember the physical and emotional toll it left on my family, so I’m really happy to see all of the participants come out today.”
More than 120,000 people died in 2017 due to Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and family members or unpaid caregivers provided more than 18 billion hours of informal assistance to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia in 2018, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Participants were given colored flowers based on their reasons for coming to the event. Yellow flowers meant they care for someone with Alzherimer’s, purple flowers meant they lost someone to the disease, orange meant they support the walk and blue flowers meant they have Alzheimer’s.
“My mom has it and my dad died from it,” participant Laura Barbro said. “I want to find a cure before I get it, because my chances are really high since both of my parents had it.”
Barbro walked with her husband, Larry, who said he had multiple family members die from the disease as well.
The Barbros are a part of Santa Clarita Atheists and Freethinkers group, which raised over $11,000 for the cause, beating their $10,000 goal, according to Laura.
“We came right behind Oakmont,” said Laura. The senior living facility had raised over $18,000 in donations, according to the End Alzheimer’s webpage.
Rep. Katie Hill spoke to the crowd about how Alzheimer’s affected her grandfather when she was a teenager.
“My grandpa would call the disease ‘Big Al,’” said Hill. “We have hope and I believe that we can take down Big Al.”
Hill said she will vote to pass any legislation to help end Alzheimer’s, such as the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act and the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act that were introduced to Congress in March and are waiting to be voted on in the Senate, according to the Legislation of Congress webpage.
The event had multiple sponsors, including Aegis Living, which provided water for participants. Other sponsors included Edward Jones, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Pacifica Senior Living, Advanced Audiology, Calmoseptine ointment, Oakmont Senior Living Facility, Assisted Living Locators, Stay Green Inc. and Total Senior.
Various groups came out to support participants, including the Los Angeles Laker Girls, Valencia High School cheerleaders and Star Wars characters from the 501st Legion.