Pam Schoenthaler and Sally Davies would love to forget the toll Alzheimer’s disease has on their patients and loved ones. They want the illness eradicated.
The public can help in that quest.
Multiple awareness events and fundraisers are scheduled for this month to shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than 6 million Americans. An estimated 66,000 Iowans age 65 and older were living with Alzheimer’s in 2020. The Alzheimer’s Association expects that number to increase by 10.6% in 2025, jumping to 73,000 people.
The public can take part in multiple events, including two walks, a Dairy Queen fundraiser, and art event, and Beers with Benefits.
“It’s different this year,” Davies explained. “We’re taking it past just the walk. We’ve got great partners who jumped up and said we want to do this.”
Happening every Thursday in September, patrons at Maquoketa Brewing can help raise funds through the brewery’s Beers With Benefits program. For every pint of beer sold on a Thursday this month, the business will donate $1 to the Jackson County Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Dairy Queen patrons can help raise money simply by ordering food at the Maquoketa eatery from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20. DQ will donate 25% of the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s walk, Davies said.
The Maquoketa Art Experience in downtown Maquoketa jumped on board with a Walk-Create-Remember event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. Artists will meet in the Maquoketa Area Family YMCA parking lot at 500 E. Summit St. to paint scenes.
Then, the public is invited to the MAE at 124 S. Main St. for refreshments and the art auction of those plein air works created that day. Proceeds will benefit the artist, the MAE, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
For more information about the MAE art event, contact Chrisje Sanders at (920) 207-3781 or email her at email@example.com.
Two Walk to End Alzheimer’s are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25. The Maquoketa event begins with registration at 8 a.m. at the Maquoketa Area Family YMCA, followed by a ceremony starting at about 8:50 a.m., then the walk at 9.
Bellevue’s Walk set at Felderman Park
Bellevue’s walk kicks off with registration at 12:15 p.m., followed by festivities at about 12:40 and the walk at 1 p.m., all at Felderman Park.
No distance requirements exist for the walk. Participants are encouraged to “walk as you can,” Schoenthaler noted.
The walking path will be lined with the 10 signs of dementia and other relevant Alzheimer’s information.
“Our goal is just to be informative this year,” Schoenthaler said. “Awareness and education is what it’s all about. The funding is important but often (the caregivers) don’t know about the resources available until they need them or it’s too late.”
“We want to bring tools to caregivers so they know what to do and that there’s someone to lean on,” Davies added.
There also will be opportunities to give drive-by donations on Sept. 25.
Jackson County’s walk committee also has raised about $2,000 so far simply from selling T-shirts with elephants and forget-me-knots to people from across the area.
All those events “are some pretty big things for the community to do for us,” Davies added.
For a $250 donation, businesses can be included in a memory garden. Davies said the location of the memory garden has yet to be determined.
Every dollar raised through these events will be given to the Alzheimer’s Association to help provide 24/7 care and support while accelerating research about the illness.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a 24-hour hotline to help individuals and their families dealing with the disease. That number is (800) 272-3900.
Jackson County also has an Alzheimer’s support group that meets the second Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m. at the Clinton Engines Museum in Maquoketa. The meetings are both in-person and virtual.