ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- The annual Walk to End Alzheimer's is happening this Saturday in St. Cloud.

The event has been happening here in St. Cloud for over 20 years and is one of over 600 walks across the country.

The local walk has a goal of raising $140,000 to fund local programs for families in the area.

Spokeswoman Jenny Theis says the money that has been raised over the years to support research is making a big difference with advancements in treatment and care for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

There is a drug for people in early-stage Alzheimer's and it actually has been shown to slow the progression of the disease.

Theis says she believes we can make dementia just a chronic disease, and not one that has to be fatal.

The Maurer family will be participating this year. Mike Maurer lost his mother and sister to Alzheimer's, and he was recently diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer's. Event spokeswoman Jenny Theis says it is important for people to get tested early.

There are drugs or treatments that you can do. Other things that are really important are continuing to exercise and being social.

You can register for Saturday's walk ahead of time, they are hoping for at least 500 people to attend. There is no fee to sign up, but you have the ability to raise money to help them reach their overall goal.

More than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and in Minnesota alone there are more than 99,000 people living with the disease.

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The event on Saturday is at Lake George in St. Cloud with check-in at 9:00 a.m. and the opening ceremony at 10:00 a.m.

A Promise Garden ceremony will be held where walkers hold a colored flower representing their personal connection to the cause. If they lost someone they get purple, if they are fighting the disease they get blue, if they are a caregiver they get yellow, or if they are a supporter they get orange.


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