More than 450 Queens residents and over 80 teams participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on Saturday, Oct. 2. The annual event raised $78,500 for care, support and research programs at the Alzheimer’s Association.
The 2 mile walk was held in person starting at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place and with the option to participate from home.
Diane Marinconz, co-chair of the Queens walk, wants to bring awareness to the prevalence and severity of Alzheimer’s.
“From Astoria to south Jamaica and everywhere in between, the communities of Queens show up for each other. Here, in the most diverse place in our nation, we are united in our commitment to fighting Alzheimer’s,” Marinconz said.
Her fellow Co-chair Melissa Warten added, “More than 400,000 New Yorkers are living with Alzheimer’s, and they come from all walks of life. That’s why it’s so important for us to come together to end it.”
The ceremony began with a touching rendition of the National Anthem from Danielle Atkinson. Emcee and Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter Board Chair Wendy Blattner then welcomed the crowd and officially started the walk, with help from the cheerleading squad of Saint Francis Preparatory School.
Queens resident Sophie Lesser, an events manager for the Alzheimer’s Association and a walk team leader, shared her connection to the cause.
“I lost my dad to early-onset Alzheimer’s and 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.”
There are over 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, with over 11 million family members and friends struggling to provide care to people living with Alzheimer’s.
The success of the Queens Walk to End Alzheimer’s was made possible thanks to its committee Co-chairs Diane Marinconz and Melissa Warten; committee members Nicole Devita, Shiela Fineman, Robin Gitomer, Catherine Heege. and Alexis Mark; and local sponsors Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Main Street Radiology.
The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funding for Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its mission is to lead 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. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900 for more information.