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More than 400 community members are expected to unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Virginia Tri-Counties on Saturday, October 16 at the Harris Pavilion in Manassas.

Michael Farrell, executive vice president with Main Street Home Loans and member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter’s board of directors, is serving as the chair of this year’s Walk. Farrell will be joined by Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger, City of Manassas, as he leads the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies the solidarity of the Walk participants in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s personal connection to Alzheimer’s.

“My mother was just 66 years old when she was diagnosed seven years ago. The disease only took three years to take her life,” said Farrell. “She was a woman who had an extreme love of family and life. Watching a highly capable person lose the ability to navigate familiar places, manage a checkbook, remember faces and eventually lose the ability to care for herself is something no other person should have to endure. I walk not only for her but for the countless others who face a similar fate. I also walk for the amazing caregivers who endure a tremendous emotional and financial toll on their own lives.”

Many of the walkers have been participating in the event for several years, including Farrell and his team, sisters Peggy Summers and Deborah Tibbs with their team “Margaret’s Memories,” and Nicole McGee with “Team McGee. “ Said Ms. McGee: “I am celebrating my tenth year of walking to end Alzheimer's. Since I began walking, I have lost my Granny, Buddy, my beloved uncle, my mom to this horrible disease. I walk to honor the loved ones I have lost. I have the gene and I am fighting for my future and my memories.”

With the health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers as top priorities, the Walk will implement safety protocols including physical distancing, masks (where required), contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more. Per CDC guidelines around crowded outdoor settings, we ask that all Walk attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear a mask when in an overcrowded area. Masks will be available on-site. Participants also are offered the option to participate online and in local neighborhoods.

“While the recent Delta variant surge may impact the way we walk, it doesn’t change the reason we walk,” said Kate Rooper, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association National Capital Area Chapter. “More than ever, with the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention.”

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. Since 2010, the Virginia Tri-Counties Walk has raised more than $1.3 million. As of October 5, the 132 teams and 417 participants registered for the 2021 Walk have raised more than $119,000 toward their goal of $170,000.

Contactless registration will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Participation is free. Walkers are encouraged to raise funds. For more information and to register, visit alz.org/ncawalks or contact Sonya Amartey at 703-766-9025 or samartey@alz.org.

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