Walk to End Alzheimer’s draws hundreds to Williamstown’s Tomlinson Park

Photo by Jeff Baughan Mike Elam, administrator at Care Haven of Pleasants in Belmont, assembles flowers before the start of Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Tomlinson Park in Williamstown.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Saturday was going to be a good day for Susie Warman, regional coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Prior to Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Tomlinson Park, she said $52,000 of the goal of $60,000 had already been secured.

“And I anticipate topping that goal by the end of the day,” she said. “I should have a final number by Tuesday but I think we will do well.”

Warman said more than 600 people registered to participate in the event, which during the course of the morning, crossed the Williamstown Bridge twice, going to Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta before returning to the starting point at Tomlinson Park in Williamstown.

There are seven stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to webmd.com. They are:

Photo by Jeff Baughan Jason Schoonmaker of Hamilton, Va., blows bubbles for his children before the start of Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Tomlinson Park in Williamstown.

* Stage 1: Normal Outward Behavior

* Stage 2: Very Mild Changes

* Stage 3: Mild Decline

* Stage 4: Moderate Decline

* Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

Photo by Jeff Baughan The Walk to End Alzheimer’s began its trip through Williamstown by exiting through a tunnel of band members from Marietta High School at Tomlinson Park.

* Stage 6: Severe Decline

* Stage 7: Very Severe Decline

For most of those participating in Saturday’s walk, Alzheimer’s had affected family in some form.

Ashley Hall, of Lowell, sat on the pavement of the horseshoe of Tomlinson Park before the start of the walk Saturday. She was participating her third Alzheimer’s walk. The walk is personal. With her was Josie, her beagle/border collie mix dog, and Linda Greathouse, her aunt from Bridgeport.

“My grandpa, Carl Dishong, passed away in 2013,” she said. “He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for 18 years, which is a really long time.”

Photo by Jeff Baughan Ashley Hall, center, of Lowell, sits with her dog, Josie, and her aunt, Linda Greathouse of Bridgeport, before Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Tomlinson Park in Williamstown.

Greathouse said Bridgeport was having its walk Saturday as well, but she chose to spend the day with Hall. It was her first time participating in the event.

“It is very rare for someone to be able to function with Alzheimer’s like Carl did,” said Greathouse. “It was only until the last few months that there were problems.”

In the middle of the single lane drive through the park, Tripp Davis and Cameron Semones were playing with balloons and posing for pictures for family members. Sophia Staats, Savannah Deems and Gigi Peterson snapped pictures as Tripp struck wrestling poses in the road. All were members of “Mom’s Misfits.”

“Mom was Isabell Corra,” said Peterson. “This is our sixth year. Mom passed from Alzheimer’s 8-25-14.”

There were 31 members to the Misfits, made up of family, relatives and friends.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Dan Adams, with Fleeman Insurance’s Forget-Me-Not team, relaxes under a shelter before Saturday’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Tomlinson Park in Williamstown.

“Mom had Alzheimer’s for five years. The signs were noticeable. Her mom died from it as well,” Peterson added. “Because of that we’re all a bit nervous. We have more than just a vested interest of what the future holds for us. It’s hard to go to a facility and visit. There you meet others who are in the situation you are and you start to share a common bond. Then you start caring about those people as well,” she said.

Garrett Legraen and five of his Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers from Marietta College were making a “funny picture” selfie with various props. Legraen said Alpha Tau Omega was at Saturday’s walk in support of the Sigma Kappa sorority, which was participating in the Alzheimer’s event.

“Our fraternity is a national supporter of multiple sclerosis,” he said, “but we’re here (Saturday) to support Sigma Kappa, which is what they support nationally.”

Legraen is a biology major at MC and a Fort Frye High graduate. He is also a traveling physical therapist assistant as well as home health.

“I go to school and on the weekends I visit nursing homes. Usually whatever facility I am at, I have a 10 patient load. Usually four or five are Alzheimer’s patients.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Alpha Tau Omega fraternity members of Marietta College, from left, Garret LeGraen, Jake Duvall, Nick Trocano, Daniel Blaine, Josh Daniell and Alec Bianchi, pose for a selfie Saturday. The fraternity brothers were there to support the Sigma Kappa sorority, which nationally supports Alzheimer’s fundraising efforts.

“They make my job so much enjoyable,” he said. “They truly are beautiful people.”