Editorial: A walk worth taking: Dalton Walk to End Alzheimer's is Saturday

Like many events these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dalton Walk to End Alzheimer's on Saturday will be a little different this year, but its importance is no less compelling.

The event attracts thousands of people each year to raise awareness of and funds to fight Alzheimer's disease. More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease -- a leading cause of death in the United States -- with more than 11 million family members and friends providing care to people living with Alzheimer's and other dementias, according to the Alzheimer's Association. In Georgia, there are more than 150,000 people living with the disease and 330,000 caregivers.

This year's event returns to Burr Performing Arts Park in downtown Dalton. Given the complications that have arisen from COVID-19, there will be several modifications. The opening ceremony is at 9 a.m., with the walk starting after that, but the event will be set up at 8 a.m. for those who want to begin early -- which will keep large groups from congregating.

Touchless registration on the day of the event will be prioritized, with limited paper registration, and "anyone uncomfortable coming can" view the opening ceremony through the Walk to End Alzheimer's app, then walk in their neighborhood, organizers said.

"We are asking all volunteers and staff to be vaccinated (against COVID-19) or have a negative COVID-19 test that day, so that should make people feel safer," said Dan Phillips, coordinator of the Dalton walk.

We encourage everyone who can to participate in this important event that means so much to our seniors and others and to those who provide care for them. And we thank the organizers of this event, the staff of the Georgia chapter of the Alzheimer's Association who provide such wonderful services year-round, the many volunteers, and those caregivers for all they do to combat this disease and ease its impact on our and their loved ones.

To register and receive the latest updates on this year's Walk to End Alzheimer's, visit alz.org/walk. You can read more about the event in our story on page 1A.

This is a walk worth taking.

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