Oct. 6, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
Hundreds of people laced up their sneakers Saturday and took part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
The annual event sees participants walk two miles around the Unisphere in order to raise money for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
More than 360 walkers took part in the event, which was organized by the Queens chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. The Chicago-based non-profit seeks to eliminate Alzheimer’s through research. It also helps provides care and support for those affected by the disease.
The event at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park raised more than $78,500 for the organization. More than 600 similar walks are taking place across the country this fall to generate funds for the Alzheimer’s Association and to raise awareness of the disease.
Melissa Warten, the co-chair of the Queens walk, said that more than 400,000 New Yorkers are living with Alzheimer’s.
“They come from all walks of life,” Warten said. “That’s why it’s so important for us to come together to end it.”
The event began with an opening ceremony that included the singing of the National Anthem by Danielle Atkinson, who works at Plaza College in Forest Hills. A cheerleading squad from Saint Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows also performed at the starting line to encourage participants at the off.
The walk began in field 5 with participants doing one loop around the Unisphere before returning to their starting point.
The youngest participant was a 7-month girl while many senior citizens took part, including at least two in their 80s, organizers said.
Sophie Lesser, a Queens resident who works as an events manager for the Alzheimer’s Association, said she lost her father to the disease.
“[I] don’t want other families to have to experience what mine did,” Lesser said. “The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a way to support an organization that helps so many families impacted by this disease.”
The Queens walk was sponsored by Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Main Street Radiology.