By Gabriel Rom
The annual Queens Walk to End Alzheimer’s brought hundreds of participants to Flushing Meadows Corona Park early Saturday morning.
Those walking the two-mile loop included more than 150 teams of people who walked in the memory of loved ones as well as individuals who have friends and family stricken with the debilitating disease. All of the funds raised through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter.
At the staging area the nearly 900 walkers were divided into various groups between those who have lost loved ones to the disease, those currently supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, and those who simply support the cause.
For Carmen Urena from Fresh Meadows, whose family has a long history with the disease, seeing such a public outpouring of support was in its own way comforting.
“It’s very refreshing to know that there is an association like this that can actually devote time and money to fighting this disease,” she said. “We’re doing something to help others.”
Urena’s connection is a personal one. “And now I’m going through it all over again because my sister has been diagnosed with the disease. It just continues.”
Urena then pointed to the children playing beside her. “Maybe for our generation it’s too late,” she said, “but for future generations maybe something can be done.”
Daniel Albert, a student at Queens College, lost his grandfather to the disease in August and was walking in Queens for the first time. He had mixed emotions.
“My father told us that grandpa would have been very proud of you to see you out here. So I know that when I do something for his memory, he looks down and smiles and that warms my heart. Yeah, it’s bittersweet to be here.”
In total, the walk raised over $120,000, while the organization hopes to eventually raise $150,000 from all of the pledges.
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@