The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Fort Smith residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sept. 19.


The Fort Smith Walk to End Alzheimer’s continues, but instead of hosting a large gathering, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging participants to walk as individuals or in small groups on sidewalks, tracks and trails across Fort Smith.


"Alzheimer’s is not taking a hiatus during COVID-19 and neither are we," Kirsten Dickens, Arkansas Alzheimer’s Association executive director said in a news release. "Many of our constituents are at higher risk when it comes to COVID-19 and we know that our volunteers and participants appreciate our commitment to keeping all involved healthy and safe.


"This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere," said Dickens. "The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the need to walk. 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."


Time-honored components of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s are being replicated. On Walk day, an Opening Ceremony will feature local speakers and a presentation of Promise Flowers to honor the personal reasons participants join together to fight Alzheimer’s and all other dementia, all delivered to participants' smartphones, tablets and computers


To enhance the participant experience leading up to the event and on Walk day, new features are being added to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app to create an opportunity for the community to connect. Participants can use the app and new "Walk Mainstage'' to track their steps and distance, follow a virtual Walk path, manage their Facebook fundraisers, and access information and resources from the Association and Walk sponsors to help individuals and families affected by the disease.


More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease – the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more than 16 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In Arkansas alone, there are more than 580,000 people living with the disease and 178,000 caregivers.


To register and receive the latest updates on this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visit: alz.org/walk.