LEWISTON — The Alzheimer’s Association® Western New York Chapter is planning to stage the annual Niagara County Walk to End Alzheimer’s in a familiar location, Artpark, on October 2nd.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s® is a fundraiser for the Western New York chapter, which provides care and support for people affected by dementia across Niagara, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The money raised by walk participants ensures the chapter can continue to provide free education programs, support groups, respite training services, a 24/7 Helpline and research funding.
Among those who will be participating in the Lewiston walk on is Sister Teresa Miklitsch, OSF. The provincial councilor from the Sisters of St. Francis at Stella Niagara leads the Miklitsch Family walk team.
“My sister, the Honorable Catherine (Cathy) M. Miklitsch, died of Alzheimer's on March 12 of this year. I lived with her. She adjusted daily to the impact of her disease. She was a woman of wisdom who served in the Rockland County Family Court in the 9th Judicial District for almost 40 years. Now, we walk in her honor and share her story on how to live each day to the fullest," Sister Terri said.
Miklitsch's sisters Rosemary and Mary Frances are walking with her to also honor their mother, poet Catherine (Kitty) Berry Miklitsch, who died from Alzheimer's in April 2016.
One of their mom's final poems was a living testimony to someone with Alzheimer's, Miklitsch said, adding that she sees the same spirit and courage in her ministry at Stella Niagara where she witnesses women struggle with dementia and Alzheimer's. Miklitsch has surpassed her fundraising goal of $1,000 and, for the fourth year in a row, will be recognized as a "champion fundraiser" by the Alzheimer's Association.
A key feature of the walk is the Promise Garden, a mission-focused experience that symbolizes the fight against the disease with colorful pinwheel flowers. The flowers come in four colors, which represent a connection to the disease: blue is for those living with dementia, yellow signifies a care partner, purple honors those lost to the disease and orange illustrates support for the fight to end Alzheimer’s.
There are no fees to attend, but fundraising is strongly encouraged and incentives are offered for meeting specific goals, including the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s purple T-shirt. Registration is free at alz.org/WNYwalk.
Once registered, participants have access to the online participant center from which they can share their efforts and progress on social media, create personal fundraising emails, share photos or videos of the reasons they are walking and more.
For additional information, call Lynn Westcott during traditional business hours at (716) 440-4251 or send an email to LWestcott@alz.org.
Walks are also scheduled in Buffalo on Sept. 18, Batavia and Dunkirk on Sept. 25, Allegany on Oct. 2 and Medina on Oct. 9.
For those who prefer to participate by walking elsewhere, such as their home, neighborhood or favorite trail, Walk-day experiences are offered through the Walk website and mobile app; more information about that is available upon registration.