10/10/10 is a date I hope I will never forget. It was my first-ever Walk, and in an appropriate parallel to my home life as a young Alzheimer’s caregiver, I walked in not knowing what to expect.
That day changed my life forever. I was surrounded by people just like me, people whose lives had been affected by Alzheimer’s. It was my first introduction to the Alzheimer’s Association, and I felt “home.”
Back then it was called Memory Walk, but months later I received an email that the walk was rebranding to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and was coming to my hometown of Brighton! I didn’t know who exactly I was replying to, but I hit “reply all.” I simply wrote “Sign me up, I’m chairing this bad boy.”
And that was the day I found my voice. That was the day I began volunteering for the Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
On Aug. 28, 2011, Brighton held its first-ever Walk To End Alzheimer’s. Almost 400 people showed up and we raised close to $40,000. That’s outstanding for a first-year event, and it was clear how much Livingston County needed this event.
Fast forward to this crazy year of 2020 – we are celebrating the 10th Annual Brighton Walk to End Alzheimer’s. And while it may seem like there may not be much to celebrate in these uncertain times, we celebrate our community. We honor our local caregivers. And we never stop fighting for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
This community has rallied behind this cause over the years in a way I never thought possible. We now have close to 1,000 walkers and raise close to $200,000. While this year’s Walk will not be a large, in-person event, I refuse to use the dreaded V-word we’ve heard so much this year. Walk is not virtual — Walk is EVERYWHERE! The opening ceremony will be live-streamed and the promise garden will be drive through. We will proudly rock our purple like we do every year, and we will safely walk with our teammates, our friends, and our families.
Please join me in celebrating Brighton’s 10th annual Brighton Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Oct. 3. You can register at www.alz.org/walk and look for the Brighton Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Facebook. I hope we someday will no longer need a Walk. I hope to put every Alzheimer’s Association staff member out of a job. I hope in my lifetime we will see a world without Alzheimer’s and all related dementias. I hope I make my Chupe proud. #EndAlz
Lauren Kovach is a lifelong Brighton resident, former chair of Brighton Walk, Michigan board member and volunteer Alzheimer’s Ambassador.