The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for care and support for all impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and research to find ways to prevent, treat and end the disease.
On Sept. 12, the Buffalo Walk to End Alzheimer’s will bring more than 3,500 people to the Outer Harbor who have touched in some way by dementia, and leading the effort are two executives with Niagara Lutheran Health System in Lancaster.
Niagara Lutheran President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Koenig, and Shoshone Dentice, Executive Director of Community Relations, will co-chair this year’s event. In collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter, which oversees five other Walks across the region, the Buffalo event has a fundraising goal of $600,000. Corporate sponsorship and peer-to-peer fundraising for the Walk fund the Chapters local outreach, which includes free education and supportive services as well as critical research.
Niagara Lutheran has been a key fundraiser for the Association for several years. According to Koenig, it’s because Alzheimer’s hits close to home with nearly half of all nursing home residents living with some type of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. “Alzheimer’s is a crippling disease that takes a devastating toll on our residents and their loved ones. Partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association gives us an opportunity to fight back and to be a voice for our residents. We are advocating for those who can no longer fight for themselves”.
Niagara Lutheran, parent organization of The GreenFields Continuing Care Community, provides memory care in different facilities across its 52-acre campus. Over the past three years, The GreenFields has contributed close to $30,000 to the WNY Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and for good reason.
“There is nothing fair about Alzheimer’s, it’s a brutal diagnosis,” says Dentice, “The Alzheimer’s Association is often a silver lining in dark times. Not only do they provide supportive services to our residents and their families, they play an instrumental role in the training of our professional caregivers. Without their support, we would not be able to provide the same level of quality care to our residents. We are simply honored to chair this year’s event.”
Alzheimer’s Association WNY Chapter Executive Director Jill Horner applauds the Niagara Lutheran commitment to ending Alzheimer’s. “I am delighted that Chris and Shoshone have embraced this critical leadership role to support families in WNY. Their passion, dedication and ongoing support of chapter work is never ending. We can’t thank them enough for their partnership.”
Other Walks set for this year are set for the Southern Tier and Orleans County on Sept. 26, Niagara County and the Genesee/Wyoming counties regions on Oct. 3, and Chautauqua County on Oct. 10. All walk locations are currently recruiting volunteers to serve on organizing committees. Roles include marketing, recruitment, sponsorship and logistics. To get involved, call the WNY Chapter office at (716) 626-0600. To learn more about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and to start a fundraising team, visit alz.org/Walk.