WBZ Cares: Annual ‘Walk To End Alzheimer’s’ Event Helps Organization Financial Needs

BOSTON (CBS) – Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community.

This month, WBZ Cares profiles the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter. It is one of over 70 Alzheimer’s Association chapters serving communities across the country providing care and support for all those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The organization is committed to accelerating the progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately a cure.

The entire $10-Million dollar annual budget is funded through donations and a wide range of fundraising events. Jayne Paragona, Vice-President of Development for the Massachusetts and New Hampshire chapter says they raise a lot of money through fundraising walks.

“We have twelve walks, nine in Massachusetts, and three in New Hampshire. We have four running events that we have teams participate, Boston Marathon, Falmouth, also participating in the Cape Cod half marathon this year. We also do a cycling event, our “Ride and Alzheimer’s” and we participate in our triathlon programs,” she said.

Their largest fundraising walk is the Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held this year on Sunday, September 24th at North Point Park in Cambridge. Organizer Melissa Shirtcliff says they expect seven to 8,000 to take part.

“It’s really great on walk day to see everybody there all united for the same cause, supporting each other and making those team t-shirts or signs,” said Shirtcliff.

The Association also holds an event in June called “The Longest Day,” where people spend the entire day raising money, by doing whatever they love to do.: “We have a group of 200 hikers that actually hike all 48 peaks in New Hampshire that are over 4,000 feet. That team alone raised over $100,000,: said Paragona.

“We have a group of 200 hikers that actually hike all 48 peaks in New Hampshire that are over 4,000 feet. That team alone raised over $100,000, said Paragona.

According to Paragona, the majority of their budget goes to provide free services they offer to Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

“79-percent of every dollar we raise goes to our programs, services, advocacy, our awareness, where 15 percent goes to fundraising, and six percent to administrative costs,” she said.  “So that would cover all building and salaries.”

Some of the money raised goes to fund Alzheimer’s research. It’s a fact not lost on U.S. Senator Ed Markey, whose own mother died from the disease.

“They are the army of advocates that everyday ensure the United States funds the research, which is necessary in order for children to have to look to the history books to find there ever was such a disease,” he said.

For more information visit Alz.org or WBZ Cares during the month of September.

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