As a law firm specializing in elder law, Nancy Burner and Associates has seen case after case of families being devastated by the degenerative Alzheimer’s disease.
For years, associates have seen wives struggling to care for their husbands of decades or young adults looking for an answer to help their parent, who in some cases, cannot remember their name.
That is why this year, with the help of the Long Island Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association—a nationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to educating people about the disease—the law firm decided to sponsor a Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Westhampton Beach on Saturday to coincide with a new fall festival.
“Many of our clients deal with Alzheimer’s on a daily basis,” Michele Morris, the marketing coordinator for the East Setauket and Westhampton Beach law firm, said last week. “We are an elder law firm so that disease hits close to home for our clients and practice area—that is our real reason to support this cause.”
The event, which is set to kick off this Saturday, October 20, at 10 a.m. in front of the gazebo at the Village Green on Main Street, will feature a 5K walk that has already raised more than $27,000 in donations from the more than 30 teams and 180 walkers signed up to participate. The walk itself will start at 11 a.m., with opening ceremonies and registration starting at 10 a.m.
“What is important about this walk is that Alzheimer’s is a cause that is sometimes forgotten about,” Ms. Morris said. “Partly because with other diseases, they impact a wide variety of individuals from children to adults, but Alzheimer’s is the forgotten disease because it hits in later generations.”
According to Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, the coordinator of the event for the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association, although this is the first event of its kind on the East End, the organization has been hosting similar events on Long Island since 2003. Recently, the group was able to open an Alzheimer’s support center in Southampton Village, and some of the proceeds from Saturday’s walk will go to the center.
Before the roughly 3 mile walk kicks off on Saturday morning, an opening ceremony will welcome participants to the event. Participants will be asked to take a paper flower and write a message of hope. While walkers are going around the village, organizers will arrange the flowers into a Promise Garden that will remain in place throughout the day. Also during the day, a USO band will be on hand to sing the national anthem. After the walk, participants are welcome to stick around the village for a fall festival that will feature tons of fall-themed activities for the entire family.
“It is lovely,” Ms. Malack-Ragona said this week. “My favorite part of the event is being at the podium and looking out at all of the families and seeing all of the support among them—their support for each other.”
“We are really shedding light in Westhampton Beach on a cause that is not often talked about or dealt with because it is uncomfortable,” Ms. Morris said. “We are excited.”