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Walking Toward a Cure: Hundreds gather in Rockford for the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Alzheimer's Disease has a wide spread hold on our nation.

More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer's today, 230,000 of which are in Illinois.

On top of that, more than 11 million people are unpaid caregivers to those suffering from the disease.

Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer's, but that does not stop people around the country, invcluding in Rockford, from coming together to get closer to one.

So many have experienced this and have been touched by this and have lost somebody to Alzheimer's," Rockford Walk to End Alzheimer's manager Taylor Adolphson said.

"Today is a day we come together to honor and celebrate those lives."

Hundreds of supporters flooded the grounds of Mercyhealth Sportscore One Saturday morning.

Families, friends and organizations walked together to honor the people who have died and are still living with Alzheimer's Disease.

So many people are impacted by this disease, so many different stories of why people walk.

"We walk for a lot of reasons. I think the main one is we provide services for adults in the home. Private duty nursing, CNA and companionship, Bri Dettmer from Maxim Healthcare Service said.

"We walk today for the patients that are currently dealing with Alzheimer's. The families we help to support to aleviate some of that stress."

Sometimes the event can become a family affair.

Meg Fertig's family has come together for 19 years to support the Alzheimer's Association.

She lost her grandmother to Alzheimer's and now her father is living with the disease.

For the Fertig's, the walk is almost an honoray holiday.

"This is a special summertime chance to really spend time together around something that means so much to us," Fertig said.

While there are many reasons to support the fight to end to Alzheimer's, more often than not it's because someone has lost a loved one to it.

That's the case for Chelsea Meyer.

The woman known best by her voice on B103 shared a heart-felt story about her grandfather.

She says the man who practically raised her was diagnosed with Alzheimer's is 2016 and died from it in September 2020, deep in the heart of the pandemic when physical contact couldn't be had.

It took away her ability to give a proper goodbye to someone so important to her life.

"My granda was my best friend and best role model a girl could ever ask for," Meyer said.

"This is why we walk. This is why we're here for the Walk to End Alzheimers."

Whether you've lost someone, are caring for someone with it, living with it yourself, or just want to support the cause.

We will all continue to come together toward the day when we will be celebrating the first survivor from Alzheimer's Disease.

Rockford's Walk was able to raise more than $50,000 ahead of Saturday's event.

If you want to learn more about Alzheimer's Disease and the Alzheimer's Association's fight against it, click here.