MILWAUKEE -- If you know someone battling Alzheimer's, you know firsthand it impacts not just those fighting the disease head on, but also their friends and family members. On Sunday, September 17th, one of the biggest fundraisers, aimed at finding a cure, was held in Milwaukee.
3,783 people gathered Sunday morning for the 24th annual Walk to End Alzheimer's at Maier Festival Park. Many shared why or for whom they walked.
"Unfortunately on September 8th, 2016, she lost the battle. She passed away, but now we're honoring my mom," said Alex Preciado.
Preciado, along with his family, walked in memory of their mother.
"I know she is my mother. Even if she doesn't recognize me, I know she is my mother, and I love her," Preciado said.
The event served as a time to heal, talk and remember those who have fought -- or are fighting -- Alzheimer's, and the raising of the flowers was one of the more memorable moments.
"The Promise Garden is a way for everyone to express their connection to the disease," Elizabeth Hazi said.
The newest addition to the Promise Garden was a white flower -- meant to be given to the person who has survived and defeated Alzheimer's. Right now it's a deadly disease, and there hasn't been one yet, but organizers said they hope the next person to hold the flower will be the first person to survive Alzheimer's.
As the walk exited the Summerfest grounds, and participants out towards the lake, Preciado and his team walked, smiling, with their heads held high.
"She never died because she's in my heart, in my soul. She's in my brain. She's in my bones. I am here and I am alive for her," Preciado said.
This event has raised $855,716 to date, making this a record setting event, in terms of number of participants and dollars raised, for the organization, according to a news release. Organizers said they anticipate the event will exceed $1 million in the next few months as donations continue to roll in.
Donations can still be made to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and should be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter at 620 S. 76th Street, Suite 160, Milwaukee, WI 53214. Please designate contributions to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Milwaukee County Walk. Donations can also be made online through November 30 at www.alz.org/sewi
The money raised in Milwaukee County is used to fund research and services including support groups, information and referral services, care consultations and a 24/7 Helpline – 800.272.3900.