Submitted photos and press release:
Holly Eschberger, of Le Roy, has not only been participating by fundraising and walking in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, she has been an active member of the Batavia Walk planning committee for several years.
This year's event is Saturday, Sept. 23 and close to 850 people are expected to participate and their goal is to raise $76,000, which supports the free programs and services of the local Chapter, as well as vital research.
“I don't think people understand that you actually die from Alzheimer’s," Eschberger said. "It is not just part of aging. You lose your loved one emotionally/mentally long before you lose them physically and it is absolutely devastating.
"I got involved with the Walk as a way to honor my grandma who I lost to Alzheimer’s. I'm inspired by the coming together of friends and families that have this common thread of watching a loved one decline with Alzheimer’s. It is heart wrenching, but it's also comforting to be surrounded by so many people who understand.”
Eschberger named her walk team “Erma’s Army” after her beloved grandmother (inset photo, above right). Holly’s team and hundreds of others provide a vital source of financial support for the Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter, which offers free programs and resources for all those facing the challenge of dementia in the eight-county WNY region.
Participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is free, but fundraising is encouraged, with incentives awarded when various goals are met, such as an official purple walk T-shirt earned when individual fundraising reaches $100. A percentage of all funds raised are earmarked for research, to ensure that one day, there will be a first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease. A higher percentage of funds stays in WNY, to ensure continuing access to free education, consultations, support and social programs for all impacted by dementia.
The Batavia Walk takes place on the grounds of the Premier Genesee Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at 278 Bank St. The site opens at 9 a.m. with snacks and refreshments, photo area, entertainment and access to basket and 50/50 raffles. A brief ceremony launches the walk at 10 a.m. and participants will head out on the approximately two-mile route at about 10:15 a.m. Additional entertainment, such as well-known cartoon characters and a "bubble brigade" will pop up along the way, with more food when walkers return to the main site.
Individuals and teams can register, join a team or donate on-line at alz.org/WNY/walk, by calling 1.800.272.3900 or in person the morning of the walk.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is made possible locally through the support of several WNY companies, including Batavia Health Care Center, The Manor House and United Healthcare.
Below are members of "Erma's Army."