Walk to End Alzheimer's takes over downtown Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Walk to End Alzheimer's takes over downtown Biloxi

Schooner the Seagull stopped by the cheer on the walkers at the annual walk for Alzheimer's disease Saturday morning. (Photo source: WLOX News Now) Schooner the Seagull stopped by the cheer on the walkers at the annual walk for Alzheimer's disease Saturday morning. (Photo source: WLOX News Now)

Hundreds of people showed up in Biloxi early Saturday morning with one goal in mind -- to bring awareness and support to the millions of people who have  Alzheimer's disease.

With more than 52,000 people in the Magnolia State living with the disease, Mississippi's chapter of the Alzheimer's Association hosts the walk each year in the hopes of raising money for research.

Holding different colored flowers, the people took to the downtown area. Each color flower held a special meaning to those who carried them.

A purple flower, like Lindsey Pitts carried, means you have lost someone to Alzheimer's disease.

"Both of my grandmothers passed away of Alzheimer's," said Pitts, adding that she was walking, "just to do what I can to make a difference and to help other families that are going through the same things we've gone through."

Yellow flowers meant that the person holding it supports or cares for someone with the disease.

"I'm a speech and language pathologist," said Brittany Matthews. "I work in a skilled nursing facility and every day I care for people with Alzheimer's disease."

Matthews says although its hard to watch the progression of the disease everyday, working with Alzheimer's patients is rewarding.

"It doesn't matter if they think it's 2016, but if they had the best day of their life thinking its 1955 that's fine," she said. 

Orange flowers signify that the person is there to support the cause, and blue flowers were carried by those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

At the age of 52, Danny Reinhart was told that he had the disease, despite having no family history of it whatsoever. 

"I really can't conduct a lot of the business that I used to as a chemical engineer," said Reinhart. "So I hope that we can solve this."

No matter what the reason for being there, everybody who participated helped the cause in some way.

"Joining in on the walk builds awareness," said Mary Kim Smith, the executive director of the AAM. "It helps us raise money for research and to support caregivers."

On Nov. 21, the Mississippi chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will host a teleconference for people living with Alzheimer's to address common concerns. Registration is required by Sunday, Nov. 20 and can be done online at the AAM's website.

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