Walking to Remember

Three years ago, three young women from a small community outside Peoria were all impacted by someone living with Alzheimer’s disease and decided to do something to help raise awareness. Kara Schumacher, Chelsey Snyder and Alyssa Testin are looking forward to walking for the third time this year at the 2015 Peoria Walk to End Alzheimer’s with their team, “Walking to Remember.” The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide and 8 locations in Central Illinois, this inspiring event calls on participants of all ages and abilities to reclaim the future for millions.

Alyssa Testin, Chelsey Snyder, and Kara Schumacher

Alyssa Testin, Chelsey Snyder, and Kara Schumacher

Team Captain Kara Schumacher first learned about the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter and their signature event by researching online for nearby Alzheimer’s disease resources and support. Kara’s paternal grandmother, Betty Schumacher, showed many signs of dementia but never had an official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts And Figures, less than half (45 percent) of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or their caregivers report being told the diagnosis by a health care provider, compared with 90 percent or more of those diagnosed with cancer and cardiovascular disease. Kara’s grandmother passed away in December 2013 with an autopsy later revealing that she did in fact have Alzheimer’s disease.

Prior to the dementia diagnosis Kara recalls never hearing people talk about Alzheimer’s disease. “Everyone talks about cancer but I want to know why we aren’t talking about Alzheimer’s disease.” Kara enjoys the Walk to End Alzheimer’s because it helps raise awareness for a disease that affects 210,000 people in Illinois alone Walking in honor of her grandmother and sharing a vision that so many others have, Kara hopes to one day see a world without Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is grossly underfunded relative to other leading causes of death and the only disease in the top ten that can not be cured, slowed or prevented. “I don’t want to see my children and grandchildren suffer. I hoping one day there is a way to prevent this disease.”

Kara and her grandmother,  Betty Schumacher

Kara and her grandmother, Betty Schumacher

In addition to raising awareness, Kara, Chelsey, and Alyssa are committed to raising money to help advance research by partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter. One way their team raises funds is by hosting a live auction event in their local community by recruiting their friends and family to become involved. In 2014, Kara and her team raised over $18,000 for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, making them a top fundraising team. This year, her team has a goal of raising over $20,000. “My favorite part of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is seeing the awareness in the community and watching the participation grow.”

“Walking to Remember” team at 2014 Peoria Walk To End Alzheimer’s

The 2015 Peoria Walk to End Alzheimer’s event will be held at Liberty Park on Sunday, October 4 at 2pm. Kara looks forward to being a team captain again and honoring her grandma Betty. This year is extra special for Kara because the Walk to End Alzheimer’s falls on her birthday.

The Alzheimer’s Association Central Illinois Chapter is a donor-supported, not-for-profit health organization serving 20 counties in Illinois. To register or join a Walk to End Alzheimer’s team visit alz.org/walk or call 800.272.3900 for more information.

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