HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - It's the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but there is still no cure for Alzheimer's, a degenerative brain disease that five million Americans are living with.
Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's every 65 seconds.
"Alzheimer's is still here, there is still no cure, and we are dealing with it in light of the pandemic," said Gino Colombara, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association Southeastern Virginia Chapter.
Colombara says support for patients and caregivers is needed now more than ever before.
"During this virus, people who are caring for their loved ones feel alone and isolated, and we have to make sure we are there for them to provide support," he said
The majority of the funds for programs, services, education and research come from the chapter's six annual walks all across the regions.
"Our fundraising goal this year for our annual walks is around $700,000," Colombara said.
Money's desperately needed, as the coronavirus has caused the organization to cut staff and other expenditures. Nationwide Alzheimer's chapters have lost tens of millions of dollars.
"The walk is truly about bringing the community together. Because of the pandemic, we can't bring community together," Colombara said.
Colombara said this year, the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's will look a bit different. Instead of a sea of purple walking in one place like the Oceanfront, you and your friends and family can safely walk through your own neighborhood or community.
"Instead of having 1,000 people in one place and increasing awareness in one location, we will have 1,000 different neighborhoods all being turned purple," he said. "This really gives us a bigger reach."
Getting involved to register to walk is easy. You can click here to register.
The A Walk to End Alzheimer's app can also be downloaded that will include an online opening ceremony and a pep rally, and you can also track your steps and take pictures to show how you are increasing awareness step by step.
"It is important to do these walks, because people need to feel connected, and people need to know we are still out here to help those in need," he said.