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Thousands Gather to Raise Awareness, Money for Alzheimer's

Over 4,000 people gathered at Rentschler Field in East Hartford on Saturday to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s.

It’s a disease that affects 5 million Americans, and the loved ones around them.

NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight emceed the event and Snow Monster was in attendance, too.

“I want them to feel as if they’re not alone,” said Maisie Russell, who is the Walk Chair for the Greater Hartford Walk to End Alzheimer’s “it is a community-- the association is here for them to support them throughout the whole journey.”

Millions of lives are touched by Alzheimer’s. It seems as though we all know someone who’s struggled with the incurable disease.

“My mom passed away from this disease. She had it for 15 years,” Russell said.

“The flowers we did for the memory garden are for Nanny who passed this year,” said Cheryl Doll from East Hampton.

“This really hits home for me,” NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight told the crowd. Her grandmother passed away with Alzheimer’s several years ago, and today, her other grandmother lives with the disease.

Year after year, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a way to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s support, care, research and advocacy through the Alzheimer’s Association.

“I raised 1-thousand dollars for my uncle!” Thomas Hart from Somerset, Mass. said.

It’s a 2-mile walk that goes a very long way in helping those who have watched their loved ones suffer feel a little less alone.

“It was very difficult to watch a parent just be so debilitated and the roles switched,” said Donna O’Brien from Terryville. O’Brien came to the walk with her group of friends called the “Healthy Hearts,” and walks in memory of her parents who both passed with Alzheimer’s.

Like many others at Rentschler Field, O’Brien became a caretaker to her mother.

“I think that with this amount of people, I’m hopeful that someday there will be a cure and there will be help for people at the end of their life.”

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