Local Alzheimer’s walk raises $50,000

Natalie Hayden

More than $50,000 was raised in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Preston Miller Park on Saturday morning.

Last year, the event raised approximately $38,000, said Devin Roos, a WKU alumn and Development and Community Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the biggest Alzheimer’s fundraiser across America,” Roos said. “Over 60 percent of our profit comes from this event.” The money goes toward research, a 24-hour helpline and educational classes for those affected by the disease.

More than 60 people participated in the walk, but many more donated money, Roos said. Many of the participants were WKU students, particularly Sigma Kappas.

“[Alzheimer’s] is Sigma Kappa’s philanthropy,” said Taylor Mill senior Emma Pemberton. This was Pemberton’s third year participating in the walk. “We do it every year in a big group, and it’s fun because you get to meet people. I recognize people from last year.”

Elizabethtown senior Alyssa Johnson, Sigma Kappa’s chapter president, said the sorority raised a little more than $1,000 this year.

Franklin, Tenn., sophomore Dani Burris said this was her first year participating in the walk.

“I’m excited,” she said. “There’s a lot of people here and there’s a good outcome. It’s a good cause. I probably would’ve come even if wasn’t our [philanthropy].”

One special WKU student who makes an appearance every year is Bowling Green senior Ann-Blair Thornton, this year’s Miss Kentucky.

“I’ve done it ever since its first year,” said Thornton, whose grandfather had the disease. It is also her platform when participating in pageants.

“My favorite part is seeing the enthusiasm,” she said. “It’s such a sad disease and there’s never any celebration. That’s what this is — a celebration of the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s.”