HANNIBAL – Hundreds of Hannibalians arrived at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center Saturday morning to participate in the local Walk to End Alzheimer's, after many had raised funds in advance. The goal is the first survivor.
Peep Davis, the walk's marketing chairperson, reported 27 teams participated with more than 300 people walking. They chose a one-mile or three-mile route on the Sodalis Trail, where people cheered them on and offered water.
Davis was proud of her team, Tri-State Alumni, for raising more than $750 by Saturday, with more coming in on the internet. Donations may be made on www.alz.org/walk
Kerri Lauterbach, a committee member of the Alzheimer's Association of Hannibal, led a team named 32 Shades of Gray Matter. This was the winning team, raising more than $2,000, she said. They had raised money by hosting lunches at Beth Haven, with ladies living in Beth Haven Terrace apartments helping, she said. Five generations of Marlene White's family participated in the walk on the Shades of Grey team.
Lisa Marie Richardson wore perhaps the most elaborate costume as she walked. She later explained her dad has Alzheimer's, and although he lives in Pennsylvania, she and her five siblings are all involved in his care, with two brothers living in his city.
Among people pushing strollers for their children during the walk was Kristen Adcock, whose daughter Rylee, 2, had a ride. Adcock reported her grandmother, Christine McDonald, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's two months ago.
The weather helped bring out the walkers, according to Peggy Kilian, vice president of communications with the Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter in St. Louis. "We couldn't have created a better day," she said.
Kilian encouraged people seeking information to call the Alzheimer's helpline at 800-272-3900.
Stacey Tew-Lovasz, Alzheimer's Association St. Louis Chapter president, said, "We just love Hannibal. A lot teams fundraise ahead of time."
Tew-Lovasz also is region 6 leader for Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. She said most of the funds raised stay in Hannibal, adding the walk is not just for funds "but for community awareness. The dollars go to help people struggling today, with hope for tomorrow."
Walk Manager Mary Williams thanked the Hannibal community and all the sponsors, "especially all of our committee members." Funds go for Alzheimer's care, support and research, she said.
Organizers were pleased with the large number of activities in the Recreation Center before the walk, including vendor tables, a bounce house for children and coffee. Food also was provided after the walk.
Lauterbach, who is service coordinator at Beth-Haven Nursing Home, invited people to the Alzheimer's support group meetings at 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at Beth Haven Nursing Home, 2500 Pleasant St. She said Beth-Haven helps with respite care to give family members a break. It also has a day program for respite care during the day and offers overnight stays. More details are available from the nursing home at 573-221-6000.
See photo gallery for more pictures of the walkers.