LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It is a battle that has been fought long before 2020, but like with COVID-19, the light at the end of the tunnel is growing nearer than ever before.
"The first survivor of Alzheimer's is alive today. That gives us so much hope," said Molly Hogan, the manager of Lexington's Walk to End Alzheimer's.
More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's Disease. More than 75,000 of them live in Kentucky, and one of those was Molly Hogan's family friend who recently passed away after her 10-year battle.
"I put her picture up after her funeral above my bulletin board, and she is the reason I fight every day for this job," Hogan said.
The Walk To End Alzheimer's is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Alzheimer's Association. It brings in money for research and for free programs they provide.
During a year where so many have been isolated in long-term care facilities, Hogan said those programs have proven to be a vital support system, making it clear the walk needed to happen in some form. So, instead of walking as a group, participants put their feet to the pavement and logged the distance on their own, every step of the way thinking of those they love and some they have lost.
"Our theme this year was 'Walk is Everywhere' which was kind of great because it gave people the opportunity to walk a distance they felt comfortable and where they wanted to walk," Hogan said. "Instead of meeting in one central location, someone could walk in an area that means something special to them."
Amazingly, $129,000 has been raised amid the pandemic. Hogan said that is a testament to the generous community in Kentucky and the desire to find a cure to a disease that has already stolen so much,
"This is what we are walking for because that first survivor is out there today," Hogan said.
Hogan said they hope to reach $150,000 in donations by the end of 2020. If you would like to donate to this year's cause or next, click here.