Weekend walk in Santa Barbara raises more than $133,000
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s raised more than $133,000 Saturday during an emotional Santa Barbara event that featured tears, expressions of love and an atmosphere of hope.
The fundraiser kicked off at 10 a.m. with the Promise Garden Ceremony at Chase Palm Park, followed by the three-mile walk led by Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse.
“It was a really good turnout and a great event,” Janelle Boesch, communications manager for Alzheimer’s Association California Central Coast Chapter, told the News-Press. “We had nearly 450 participants. It was a really great time, and the weather was beautiful.
“It was definitely emotional,” she said. “It was great seeing the community come together for a really important cause that affects so many of us.”
Participants of the walk carried a flower and personalized it with their name or the name of the person they were honoring during the walk.
The Promise Garden had flowers of different colors, and each color has a different significance. Purple was for a lost loved one. Blue was for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Yellow represented supportive people such as caregivers. Orange referred to the vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.
Ms. Boesch said Saturday’s walk projected an atmosphere of hope.
“It was really encouraging to see the community come out and support the cause,” she said.
“It was really emotional during the (opening) ceremony,” Ms. Boesch said. “We had different people speak. It brought out the emotional side. A lot of people were crying. I was crying.”
“We are raising awareness that you are not alone, that we are going to continue to do this until we find a cure and we will continue to be there for each other until we do find a cure,” she said.
The annual walk raises money that covers local resources for families and individuals in need of support and guidance, Lindsey Leonard, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association California Central Coast Chapter, told the News-Press in an email. “We want to ensure that no one faces this diagnosis or caregiving journey alone.”
Speakers at the opening ceremony included Mayor Rowse.
“Everybody is either directly or indirectly affected (by Alzheimer’s and dementia). I don’t think there is anybody who doesn’t know somebody affected by it,” he told the News-Press. “There are recent medical developments that are very helpful. Lots of things are being tested with positive results.
“The funds being raised support these developments and research,” Mayor Rowse said. “That is why it is important to get out and support causes like this.”
Gabriella Garcia, the walk’s chair, told the News-Press that participating in the event is an empowering and emotional experience.
“It brings together our community and gives everyone impacted by this devastating disease the opportunity to honor their loved one and make a difference,” she said in an email.
Ms. Boesch noted that proceeds from the walk finance services for local families. The services are provided in English and Spanish at no cost to the families.
She added that proceeds also go toward global research.
“It’s a really exciting time for research,” Ms. Boesch said. “We are getting closer and closer to a cure and research that will help families facing this disease.”