Ann Arbor Walk to End Alzheimer’s to take place virtually in October

“Alzheimer’s has not taken a hiatus during COVID-19, so neither are we.”

For Oct. 11 Walk to End Alzheimer's will take place virtually this year. (Alzheimer's Association Michigan Chapter)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Turn Ann Arbor into a socially distanced sea of purple while raising funds to battle Alzheimer’s.

On Oct. 11, the annual Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s will switch out its big, in-person event for a virtual program so participants can walk wherever and however they want.

“Alzheimer’s has not taken a hiatus during COVID-19, so neither are we,” said Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter development manager Sue Prynn about why it’s important to participate in the Walk this year. “Not to mention that the demographics we serve are definitely in that high-risk category for COVID as well.”

With more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, Prynn said that the Walk helps fund free services and programs, including the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline, one-on-one consultations and resource groups, which went virtual during the pandemic.

“We’re here for them,” Prynn said referring to the 190,000 people in Michigan living with the disease and the 518,000 caregivers who provide unpaid care.

“The biggest pieces we provide all of our communities with [are] free programs and services, and we cannot do this without Walk. We cannot do this without our participant’s fundraising those much-earned and much-needed dollars to continue to support all these programs and services that we offer.”

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Washtenaw County is trying to raise $235,000. Prynn said that fundraising efforts will continue into December.

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Here’s how to get involved:

Register to walk. Registration is free and individuals or teams can earn badges and receive prizes as they hit different fundraising goals.

Take photos and share them on social media using the hashtags #Walk2EndAlz and #ENDALZ.

Start a fundraiser through Facebook and track your steps. Manage your fundraiser, steps and walk distances with new features on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app. The app rewards participants with stickers and virtual photo frames to simulate the photo opportunities from previous in-person Walk events, according to Prynn. It also offers a motivational audio track and resources from the Alzheimer’s Association and Walk sponsors.

“The neat thing this year is that people can walk where they feel most comfortable,” said Prynn. Ann Arbor participants can walk in their neighborhoods, on tracks, in parks or on trails.

Register here.

Times and Dates:

Starting at 11:45 a.m. on Oct. 11, the Ann Arbor walk will have a live-streamed opening ceremony with local speakers and a presentation of Promise Flowers, which symbolize the reasons why participants walk. Watch through Walk Mainstage, a new virtual platform for the event.

The walk starts at noon.

In continuation of Walk to End Alzheimer’s tradition, a promise garden will be planted in Ann Arbor to represent those impacted by the disease. Prynn said details are still being worked out as to where the garden will be located, but it will be ready by Oct. 11 for participants to view.

To drum up excitement about the Walk, and to answer questions, there will be a virtual pep rally at 6 p.m. on Aug. 27. Those interested can join the rally by emailing Sue Prynn at

Learn more about the Ann Arbor Walk to End Alzheimer’s here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.