A sea of purple will descend upon Tennessee Riverpark as walkers trek the winding paths to fight Alzheimer's disease.
The Chattanooga Walk to End Alzheimer's begins Sept. 15 with registration at 9 a.m. Area firefighters are invited to a special breakfast being hosted by Morning Pointe at 8 a.m. The walk starts at 10 a.m.
Walkers will wear purple, the signature color worn by Alzheimer's Association staff across the country. The walk is handicap-accessible and will include a Kid's Zone. Walkers will be presented with purple, blue, orange and yellow flowers to put in a promise garden at the walk.
"The Chattanooga walk raised $103,000 last year," said Alzheimer's Association Mid-South Chapter Vice President Cindy Lowery, of East Brainerd. "Our goal this year is to raise $120,000."
She said last year 1,200 registered walkers entered the fight against Alzheimer's disease through the Chattanooga walk.
"As the population ages, the numbers [of those with Alzheimer's] grow," said Lowery. "It's critical right now because the baby boomer population is the largest population. That generation is moving into the senior age bracket. Nothing stops Alzheimer's and there's no cure. "
She added that younger and younger people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
"We try to encourage people if they know there is a problem to go get diagnosed," said Lowery. "About 15 million Americans take care of someone with Alzheimer's disease. In 2012 it's expected to cost $200 billion to care for people with Alzheimer's disease."
She said the sole way to fight off Alzheimer's is to maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercising and keeping one's brain and body active. She said learning something new often, is important.
"We provide care and support to families coping with a family member's Alzheimer's disease," said Lowery. "We tell people how to keep their brain healthy. And we raise money for Alzheimer's research through walks."
She said the number of people with Alzheimer's disease continues to increase every year.
"The walk is a day of hope," said Lowery. "To see the money raised, knowing it will go toward research brings walkers hope."