Walkers lend helping hand

October 21, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

As Dawn Ludwig, 38, an employee of Maryland Ribbon, tugged on the hands of her twin boys Sunday, she reminded them why they had to walk one more time around the Hagerstown Community College campus.

"You're helping somebody else that can't help themselves," she said to her 4-year-old sons, Ian and Eric, who just before their mother's reminder had tuckered out on a sidewalk curb after looping the campus twice.

Ludwig and about 175 other people walked at HCC Sunday for the ninth annual Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk, which raised a goal total of $40,000, an event spokesperson said.


Joyce A. Heptner, regional director for the Alzheimer's Association, said there are 2,600 people in Washington County who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, an illness without a cure that causes severe memory loss, confusion and disorientation.

Heptner said the regional chapter sponsors three walks a year in Hagerstown, Frederick, Md., and Cumberland, Md. "Hagerstown walkers raise more money per person than any of the other walkers," she said.

Ludwig said she began walking at the event eight years ago and this year decided to bring her sons. "They're old enough that they can learn to do something for somebody else," she said.

Maryland Ribbon had 33 people walking Sunday and raised $4,452, said Susan Mullican, 55, team leader.

Mullican said for the past seven years, Maryland Ribbon has been the top walking group. She said Sunday she was planning to walk three miles, the most fund-raisers could walk.

Walkers either looped around a marked trail across the college campus or did laps on the indoor track within the ARCC, the college's athletic facility.

Jennifer Thomas, 37, a nurse for Reeders Memorial Home, a nursing care center, was speedwalking in the Athletic Recreation and Community Center, but said she wasn't keeping track of how many miles she had walked.

She said she works closely with Alzheimer's patients, who are aware that employees at the Boonsboro nursing home are walking to help find a cure for their disease.

"They like us to walk for them since they can't do it," she said.

Mary Ellen Mitchell, an event spokesperson, said Reeders Memorial Home was the biggest sponsor - a "Silver Sponsor" - at the walk.

Reeders' sponsorship allows the Alzheimer's Association to underwrite the cost of the walk so more money can go toward research of the disease, she said.

Dot Allen, 51, a social worker at Ravenwood Nursing Care Center, was taking a break in the ARCC after pushing a patient in a wheelchair around the campus.

"We're seeing more and more people with dementia coming into the nursing home," she said, which she believes makes the cause a most important one.

Eighteen people walked for Ravenwood on Sunday. Among them were five residents, Allen said.

"I think (the residents) really understand and some of them have been affected by family members," she said.

Kim Christo, 39, walking along the campus drive, was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a photograph of her grandfather, Raymond Emerick, who died as a result of Alzheimer's disease.

"I think once you experience it yourself, you're more apt to walk," she said. Christo and her sister-in-law, Wendy Puglisi, 34, raised about $500 for the association.

"More money is more research," Puglisi said.

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