Dodge City residents are invited by  The Alzheimer’s Association to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’son  Oct.  31.


Instead of hosting a large gathering though, participants are being asked by the Alzheimer’s Association to walk as individuals or in small groups on sidewalks, tracks and trails throughout the Dodge City area.


"This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be everywhere," said Fe Vorderlandwehr, executive director at the Alzheimer’s Association – Central & Western Kansas Chapter. "The pandemic is changing how we walk, but it doesn’t change the need to walk.


"This year, more than ever, we need to come together to support all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia.


"With the dollars raised, the Alzheimer’s Association can continue to provide care and support to families during these difficult times while also advancing critical research toward methods of treatment and prevention."


The Opening Ceremony on Walk day will feature local speakers, as well as a  presentation of Promise Flowers shared via personal devices in honor of the personal reasons that participants join to fight Alzheimer’s and dementia.


The Promise Garden will be replicated in a "view-only, drive-by" format on Walk day at Brookdale, Western Beverage and Gibson’s Pharmacy at 9:30 a.m.to honor all those affected by Alzheimer’s.


As an additional way for the community to connect, new features are being added to  the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app in order to enhance participants’ experience leading up to the event and on Walk day.


Participants can use the new "Walk Mainstage" feature on the app to track their steps and distance, follow a virtual walk path, manage their Facebook fundraisers and access information and resources from the Association and Walk sponsors to help individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s.


A new audio track is available for participants to enjoy along the way, which will also  congratulate them upon completion of their walk.


"Alzheimer’s is not taking a hiatus during COVID-19 and neither are we,"said  Vorderlandwehr. "We must continue Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and we are working with all participants to ensure they have a powerful and moving experience that is felt when we are together. Many of our constituents are at higher risk when it comes to COVID-19 and we know that our volunteers and Walk participants appreciate our commitment to keeping all involved healthy and safe."


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.


More than 16 million family members and friends provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.


In Kansas alone, there are more than 55,000 people living with the disease with 152,000 caregivers striving to care for them.


To register and receive the latest update on Walk to End Alzheimer’s, visitalz.org/cwkswalk.