Painting the town purple
Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser starts with mini-walks on Sept. 21

Patti Sells | News-Telegram Feature Editor

Young and old alike are getting ready to help “Paint the Town Purple” at Sulphur Springs’ Second Annual Alzheimer’s Walk slated for Oct. 8, at Coleman Park. Mini-walks, which begin Sept. 21, will be held leading up to the Alzheimer’s Walk to provide elderly residents an opportunity to participate. Those planning to participate in the mini-walks include, left to right, (front row) Mary Beadle, Tom Tosh, Jerene Anderson, Faye Asburn, Nancy Jo Haywood, Gladys Ward, (middle row) Dorothy Dougan, Karon Weatherman, Pat Mallory, Rebecca Shaw, ChaCha, Debra Ball, Janna Stewart, (back row) Leanetta Pryor, Mini-Walk Chairperson Randal Voss, Co-Chairperson Jackie Voss Thornton and Mike Adams. 
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts    

Sept. 14, 2005 -- Residents young and old are asked to lace up their sneakers and get ready to help "Paint the Town Purple" at Sulphur Springs' Second Annual Alzheimer's Walk slated for Oct. 8 at Coleman Park.

The event's purpose is to raise money and create more public awareness to the needs and concerns of  Alzheimer's patients, as well as their families and caregivers.

According to Randal Voss, member of the "Paint the Town Purple" walking committee, last year's walk was a great success, in spite of getting rained out. 

"This year we have a back-up plan," said Voss of the 1.2 mile trek around Coleman Park Lake. "Last year we had about 100 to 150 walkers TRY to participate before heading for cover. But we still managed to raise more than $11,000."

Proceeds, according to Voss, go to the Alzheimer's Alliance of Northeast Texas, a group dedicated to helping those living with the disease and their families through a program of patient and family services, education, advocacy and research.

The Alzheimer's Alliance of Northeast Texas serves Hopkins County as well as 15 other East Texas counties assisting approximately 18,450 victims of the disease living throughout the area. 

A portion of the proceeds also goes specifically to Sulphur Springs' own Terrific Tuesdays respite program, which offers AD caregivers a break by providing their loved ones a safe, fun environment with trained and caring volunteers.

"The more money we make, the more that gets to stay here locally," explained Voss.

 This year's walk has added some new events such as "Paint the Town Purple" mini-walks, which will take place at three area nursing homes, two assisted living residences, Primrose Estate apartments, and the Senior Citizens Center. 

"These mini-walks will provide an opportunity for elderly residents to participate and feel empowered by also being able to contribute to the community," Voss said. 

Mini-walks will take place beginning with Wesley House on Wednesday, Sept. 21; Sulphur Springs Health and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, Sept. 22; the Senior Citizen's Center on Tuesday, Sept. 27; Primrose Estate on Wednesday, Sept. 28; Carriage House Nursing Home on Thursday, Sept. 29; Hopkins House Assisted Living on Friday, Sept. 30; and Sunny Springs Nursing Home on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

According to Voss, mini-walks will be coordinated through an in-house contact and one of the walker recruitment committee members will serve as a liaison. Some walks will be indoors, while other may be outdoors, depending on weather conditions and other factors. For more information on the mini-walks, those interested should contact the specific location they would like to walk with for more details.

"Anyone can walk in these mini-walks, but primarily we are focusing on getting the residents from each of these establishments to walk," explained Voss. 

Staff at each of these locations are welcome to sponsor a walker or walk themselves, according to Voss, who said they also hope to get the residents' family members involved by doing the same.

"We also hope the mini-walks will provide publicity for the 'big walk' coming up in October," said Voss, hopefully.

The Pilot Club will also be involved in this year's Oct. 8 walk by providing drinks, setting up signs and tables, as well as taking care of those registering on the day of the event.

A special treat for this year's walkers and spectators will be tethered hot air balloon rides that plan to be on sight near the tennis courts for those wishing to get a birds-eye view of the community.

The cost of the mini-walks, as well as the Oct. 8 walk, is $20 for early registration and $25 on the day of the event. The fee will not only help raise money for AD, but also get walkers a T-shirt, fruit and drinks, according to Voss.

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