Alzheimer’s Association adds walk volunteers

From left to right, Traci Eddy, Angie Moretto, Bethany Brown, Carter Brown and Katy Sulfridge talk about volunteering in Jeremiah’s Coffee House Tuesday during the Alzheimer’s Association volunteer kick-off event for this year’s walk in Williamstown. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

MARIETTA – Twenty new volunteers joined the ranks of this year’s local campaign to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Tuesday.

Raising more than $60,000 through an annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Tomlinson Park in Williamstown doesn’t just happen overnight, explained Katy Sulfridge, manager for the Mid-Ohio Valley and Northern Panhandle area of the national Alzheimer’s Association.

“The last couple of years we’ve had around 600 people actually participate in the walk, but the event takes many volunteers to put on, find sponsors, recruit teams and raise money,” she said Tuesday at the kick-off volunteer recruitment event held in Jeremiah’s Coffee House in Marietta. “We need individuals willing to chair committees and work the day of the event putting on different activities, and even if you can’t attend the walk itself, you can help.”

Angie Moretto, of Newport, said she was interested in volunteering this year because she has lost two family members to the disease.

“My grandmother and my father-in-law both passed away from Alzheimer’s,” she explained. “And you always hear about Relay for Life, but I’d not heard about a walk for Alzheimer’s until my friend told me. Now I want to help.”

The annual walk is scheduled for Sept. 21 this year and on Tuesday the two youngest volunteers of the effort were excited to share why the issue of Alzheimer’s and dementia is so important to them.

“My grandpa has Alzheimer’s,” explained Coen Eddy, 13, of Marietta. “It’s a terrible disease I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”

Eddy said his memories of his grandfather predate the manifestation of the degenerative disease.

“We used to play cars all the time together, we had this special connection just the two of us,” he explained. “But he really started the downfall when I went to kindergarten… Now I have two younger cousins, and the 4-year-old always asks why grandpa can’t remember him.”

Carter Brown, 11, of Lower Salem, said the disease has affected his mother’s side of the family, so last year he took on coordinating and running the childrens’ activities at the September walk.

“We’re raising money to find a cure, and we can have fun doing it,” he said. “Last year we even did a kid ceremony at the walk.”

Eddy said this year he wants to focus on recruiting more members of his generation to invest in the issue and find a cure before they become grandparents.

“I want to get into all of the middle and high schools in Washington County and get activities and fundraisers going,” he said. “I know what it’s like to have a grandparent not remember you. I don’t want that still to be a thing when we’re grandparents.”

Sulfridge said the West Virginia Chapter is still accepting volunteers through its website: alz.org/wv.

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