OGDEN -- Dozens of people gathered Saturday to Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease.
The walk, held at the Weber County Fairgrounds, included breakfast, a balloon launch and a ceremony to honor those affected by the disease.
Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell signed a proclamation earlier this month proclaiming September 21, 2013 World Alzheimer's Day.
Walk to End Alzheimer's is more than a walk, said Melissa Lee, spokesperson for the Alzheimer's Association Utah Chapter. It's an experience for approximately 500 participants in the Weber-Davis County areas who will learn about Alzheimer's disease and how to get involved with this critical cause, from advocacy opportunities, the latest in Alzheimer's research and clinical trial enrollment to support programs and services.
Participants in the walk also wrote messages on a flower that represents a promise to remember, care and fight for those living with the disease.
Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in Utahns age 60 and older, according to the Alzheimer's Association, and it's growing at an alarming rate. More than 5 million Americans, including 32,000 Utahns, have some form of Alzheimer's.
In addition, Alzheimer's can strike people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Of the 5 million living with the disease, 200,000 people younger than age 65 are also suffering. This year, the disease claim the lives of one in three seniors and will cost the nation $203 billion and is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050, the association said.
Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's include memory loss that disrupts daily life, difficulty in completing familiar tasks and confusion with times and places. Risk factors include genetics, age and a family history.
"There has never been a greater need for the citizens of Weber-Davis count(ies) to join in the fight against Alzheimer's disease by participating in Walk to End Alzheimer's," said Kim Ware, volunteer walk chair for the event.
"Funds raised will provide care and support services to the 32,000 residents of Utah living with Alzheimer's, and the 127,000 caregivers, while also contributing to advancing critically needed research."