US – San Antonio Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Did you realize that someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 67 seconds and it currently cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed? It has been among the top ten causes of death in America for over 20 years. The Alzheimer’s Association of San Antonio and South Texas have been hosing charitable walks to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s since 1989. Beginning as Memory Walks with a several hundred participants, these walks have since transitioned into the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, with thousands of participants. The most recent Walk was held on September 19th, 2015 and over $350 000 was raised. A team of RRT volunteers were brought onboard to assist in the operations on the day.

Overlooking the Start of the event from the Promise Garden

Overlooking the Start of the event from the Promise Garden

5:00am – Dawn has not yet broken, however, the flurry of excitement and preparation is well underway! September 19, 2015 marks the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in San Antonio, Texas.

Passing out water bottles in the crowd before the walk began.

Passing out water bottles in the crowd before the walk began.

6:00am- With the help of over 300 willing volunteers, including 21 RRT volunteers, water is distributed to the stations along the walk route, balloons are filled and booths and tables are set up. Besides the Check-In booth, there was one for snow cones, refreshing fruit smoothies, and Alzheimer’s Information (where participants could learn more about the disease).

The participants gathering for the start of the event.

The participants gathering for the start of the event.

7:30am- Thousands of cars file through the gates as the participants begin to arrive and volunteers quickly rush to assist the five parking directors. The quiet is broken and there is sudden activity as the participants eagerly check in and visit the booths. As the parking lots quickly filled, the RRT all-terrain vehicle became a huge asset in transporting the elderly to the center of activity.

The Promise Garden - a promise to honour, care, remember and  fight  for Alzheimer's sufferers and caregivers.

The Promise Garden – a promise to honour, care, remember and  fight  for Alzheimer’s sufferers and caregivers.

9:00 – 9:30am- It is official as over 3,500 participants are registered and enthusiastic to begin the walk. A crowd forms behind the Start line and the announcer’s voice booms across the vicinity – “Ready?” “10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1..GO!” The walk begins and thousands of determined supporters surge across the Start line for the 2 mile walk. Now the work has really begun as volunteers stood along the path and assisted in handing out hundreds of water bottles.

Thirsty Walkers at the end of the event appreciate the RRT water

Thirsty Walkers at the end of the event appreciate the RRT water

11:00am- When the stock of 1,440 water bottles began to dwindle, two volunteers quickly made an emergency run to purchase more. They returned in time to revive the thirsty yet successful participants who had completed the two mile trek. As the crowd moved back towards their cars, the volunteers split to assist between parking and clean-up.

RRT Volunteer Group with Event Coordinators

RRT Volunteer Group with Event Coordinators

12:00pm- The day is officially over. All the tents and tables are collapsed, the parking lots are void of vehicles and the vicinity looks strangely empty. With their work done, the RRT team said a final farewell to the event coordinators and slowly departed.