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At the beginning of June, the Alzheimer’s Association launched its first Flowers of Hope campaign, inviting residents of the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region to begin raising funds for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is scheduled for October. Participants who raise $100 between June 1 and August 31 will receive surprise visits from local celebrities and community volunteers “planting” Promise Garden Flowers on their driveways.   

Chair of the Rochester Walk to End Alzheimer’s and News 8 anchor Maureen McGuire and board member of the Alzheimer’s Association and former 13WHAM anchor Norma Holland Mann are spearheading the campaign. Walk volunteers David Gruszczynski of Webster, Patrick Sloan of Pittsford, Ron Martino of Spencerport and Riesa Cassano of Pittsford, with support from Michel Cassagnol of Knights of Columbus, are helping McGuire and Holland Mann spray paint Promise Garden Flowers on the driveways and sidewalks of the those participating in the campaign.   

“I joined the Walk to let my father know we are not giving up on his determination to find a cure,” said McGuire. “It was difficult to witness and live through my father’s disease. For every ounce of despair I felt, my participation in the Walk melted it away and made me feel I wasn’t alone. I continue to walk and raise money to help the incredible community of scientists find a treatment and a cure.” 

“For many folks, myself included, Walk is about hope,” said Holland Mann. “We raise money and walk because we are faithful and hopeful that there will be a cure in our lifetime.”

McGuire lost her father to Alzheimer’s dementia. Holland Mann lost her grandmother to dementia and her father-in-law to Alzheimer’s dementia. 

Every year on Walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer's or another dementia with blue, yellow, purple and orange Promise Garden Flowers. These flowers highlight the different reasons for taking part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The blue flower represents people like Jim Gulley of Penfield, Bob Grabman of Geneva or Cynthia Huling Hummel of Elmira who are living with dementia. The yellow flower represents people likeMaritza Buitrago of Rochester, Laura Peirce of West Bloomfield or Ralph Olney of Spencerport who care for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s. The purple flower represents people like Bob Johnson of Pittsford, Sandy Tramacera of Wayne County or Rose Carnegie of Pine City who lost their loved ones to Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The orange flower represents people like Melanie Cerra of Rochester, Shelby Ascroft of Canandaigua or Kevin Diehl of Horseheads who support the cause and the Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s and all dementia.

“With this colorful display of determination in our communities throughout this summer and on Walk day, I am confident that, one day, we will be able to add a flower to this garden. Funds raised at the Walk will help us find a cure and we will add a white flower to our Promise Garden to represent the first survivor of Alzheimer’s,” said Teresa Galbier, chapter executive, Alzheimer’s Association. 

This fall, the Walk will take place on October 3 in Canandaigua, October 10 in Rochester and October 17 in Elmira. Participants can register to walk at Participants who raise $100 this summer, will be offered the opportunity to have their driveway spray painted as part of the Flowers of Hope campaign. 

More than 5 million Americans over the age of 65 including more than 400,000 New Yorkers are living with Alzheimer's disease. More than 16 million family members and friends provide care to their loved ones living with dementia. 

Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’sis the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for dementia care, support and research. Since 1989, the Alzheimer’s Association mobilized millions of Americans in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®; now the Alzheimer’s Association is continuing to lead the way with Walk to End Alzheimer’s.   

Alzheimer's Association®

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia. The Alzheimer's Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes Regionserves nine counties including Chemung, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates. Visit or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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