2014 0823 walk for alzheimers

The fight against Alzheimer’s disease made its way through downtown Riverhead as the annual ‘Walk for Alzheimer’s’ stepped off in front of the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center Saturday morning.

The walk, organized by the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, began at 11 a.m. after opening ceremonies in the aquarium’s Sea Star Ballroom. Teams walked west on main street to Grangebel Park and back along the riverfront.

There were 13 teams and collectively more than 80 people who have already raised more than $17,000 toward finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, according to Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center headquartered in Bayshore. Malack-Ragona said the goal is $50,000 and the teams have until Dec. 31 to raise it.

There will be two more walks this year, one in Bethpage on Sept. 6 and one in Westhampton Beach on Oct. 18. Malack-Ragona said she expects to see between 1,000 and 1,200 people at the Bethpage walk and about 300 at the Westhampton beach walk.

Collectively, Riverhead, Bethpage and Westhampton Beach have raised more that $117,000 already and the ultimate goal is $450,000, a goal that Malack-Ragona said she believes they will attain.

“We’re the last local agency helping families with Alheimer’s disease,” Malack-Ragona said. “Everyone else has been scooped up into a national environment and they don’t offer the personal touch that we offer as an organization. It means a lot to these families because they’re all coming together, they all have common issues and they’re all supporting one another. That’s really what this walk is about: supporting each other.”

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Emil Breitenbach Jr and Peter Blasl

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