Hundreds participate in annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s


HOLYKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke and surrounding communities joined to spread awareness and raise money at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

The campus at Holyoke Community College was covered in purple, the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement, on Sunday. The event returning to its former glory after a year away from the in-person event due to the pandemic. For 2020, supporters and volunteers raised funds to go towards care, support, and research virtually.

“The last year and a half with COVID has been especially hard for people with Alzheimer’s,” Beth Cardillo, executive director for Ambrook Village said. “Just incredible isolating, and we’re so glad we can be together now.”

Former 22News anchor Barry Kriger spoke at the event. Reminding the crowd that everyone has in some way been impacted by the disease.

People and organizations across the Pioneer Valley came to support the cause, including the staff at Cedarbrook Village in Ware, like Mary Dembkowski.

“We have a memory care community, so we deal with it every day. I lost my mom to Alzheimer’s so this is something that’s very close to my heart.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 130,000 people in Massachusetts alone suffer from the disease. On top of that, over 281,000 are caregivers.

“Alzheimer’s can be really isolating not only for the person who has Alzheimer’s but also the caregivers,” Kaileen Copella told 22News.

Copella is the co-chair for the Pioneer Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s. She lost her mom to the disease and now spends her time supporting and helping others.

“You do feel alone and that there’s not a lot of hope, but in participating and fundraising and having the community there is hope and one day we will find a cure,” Copella said.

A beautiful fall day, to remember those lost and to look towards a hopeful future of research and treatment. 

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