WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting all Essex, Hudson and Union County residents to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research, to be held locally on Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex at 9 Cherry Lane, West Orange.

In addition, funds raised through the Walks to End Alzheimer’s events also help support research and development of new therapies and drugs to treat and ultimately cure Alzheimer's disease.

Participants can complete up to a two-mile walk and learn about Alzheimer's disease, advocacy opportunities, clinical studies enrollment and support programs and services from the Alzheimer’s Association. Walk participants will also honor those affected by Alzheimer's disease with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony.

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“As a volunteers and this year’s Event Co-Chairs, we are joining participants of all ages in the fight against the disease at Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic,” said Caldwell residents Dave and Rita Whetton. “The disease is relentless; but here in New Jersey, so are we.”

Brothers Larry and Scott Dolinko—whose father, Barry, died in May from early-onset Alzheimer’s at the young age of 69—explained that their experience with their father has motivated them to continue being among the top fundraisers for the Essex-Hudson-Union Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Scott said that being at his father’s side from day one—and “watching his mind and body deteriorate over the years”—his family became determined to do everything in their power to “make sure that the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a special, meaningful and an impactful day” for his family, for the cause and for funds being raised for research.

“We saw firsthand how this disease not only impacted us and our father over the past nine years, but also our children and everyone else in our family,” said Larry. “If there is anything we could do, anything at all, to contribute to finding a cure and ending this terrible disease we would be more than happy to do it.”

Volunteer Lucille Barresi, a Livingston resident who has been involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer's since her mother was lost to the disease in 2017, also said she wants to help find a cure in order to “alleviate the stress and sadness Alzheimer's patients and their families endure and to preserve the memories that create our unique life story.”

“I also want to support all the doctors, nurses and caregivers that tirelessly work for a cure and support and treat those afflicted with Alzheimer's with the dignity they deserve until life's journey ends,” she said.

Fellow Livingston resident Nicki Kaufman, who was among those caregivers when she initially began walking in 2015, walks this year as someone who lost her mother to Alzheimer’s disease.  

“My mother was young, and I walk to create awareness for my generation as well and my children’s generation,” said Kaufman.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only disease among the top 10 causes that cannot be cured, prevented or even slowed.

Additionally, more than 16 million family and friends provide care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the U.S. In New Jersey alone, there are more than 180,000 people living with the disease and 450,000 caregivers. 

On behalf of Edward Jones Investments, Millburn-based financial advisor Gary Jones said the company is thrilled to once again serve as the event’s national sponsor.

“We're proud to be teaming up with the Alzheimer's Association to help support families facing Alzheimer’s today and advance research toward an eventual method of prevention, treatment or cure for one of the greatest threats to the health and wealth of families, including the millions of families that Edward Jones serves throughout North America,” he said.  

Register a team today, sign up as a Team Captain, or register to walk as an individual at alz.org/njwalk. For those unable to join on event day, there are ways to participate, volunteer or donate without walking.

To donate, text 2ENDALZ to 51555 or contact the Alzheimer’s Association at 973-437-3931.