A walk to remember

Students participate in fundraiser benefitting Alzheimer’s research


Photo by Piper Spaulding

Senior Peyton Smith smiles as she helps set up for the Walk to End Alzheimers. This charity race took place at Texas A&M University-Texarkana on Saturday.

Story by Langley Leverett, feature editor

An event decked out in symbolic purple, the first Walk to End Alzheimer’s was held Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Texas A&M University, Texarkana. Students from National Honor Society devoted their time both Friday to assist in setting up the event and Saturday to help keep the race running efficiently, while simultaneously showing their support for the cause.

This organization promotes awareness and research to aid the eradication of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as offering a support system in the community for those who have been touched by this misfortune.

Special Events Coordinator for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Carly Dethlefs, expressed her aspirations for the race and the individuals participating.

“We’re really excited that it’s the inaugural Walk to end Alzheimer’s in Texarkana. I think that we already know that Alzheimer’s is such an epidemic, and that it’s only going to get worse if we are not actively talking about,” Dethlefs said. “We’re just hoping that people will see how beautiful the event is and how touching the ceremony can be for all those that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.”

This occasion provided students the opportunity to immerse themselves in character building exercises that will ultimately benefit them.

“It’s important for students to volunteer to get into the community and do selfless acts,” National Honor Society Advisor Holly Mooneyham said. “They are getting involved with other things other than themselves and their phones.”

Mooneyham said that the race was an upstanding affair for NHS.

“I think with this being the first time Walk to End Alzheimer’s is brought to Texarkana, it’s something new. We weren’t all jumbled together, like StuCo and Key Club doing the same thing,” Mooneyham said. “Since it’s just NHS it’s kind of more community building for us. I think the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is a wonderful thing for us. It’s a great organization.”

Students are moved by this charitable event and yearn to make a difference.

“[I love] seeing all the people that are excited to help out for the cause,” junior Karissa Smith said. “I volunteer with hospice a lot; I go to nursing homes, and I see how affected people are by Alzheimer’s. It’s really heartbreaking, so I’m just trying to help in any way I can.”

Although the volunteers enjoyed helping the participants, the event hits close to home.

“My favorite part has been helping [Alzheimer’s patients take their selfies and decorate,” senior Payton Smith said. “My grandma actually has dementia and is progressing into Alzheimer’s, so this is actually kind of relatable for me and my family.”

Individuals are shocked to find that there are many opportunities for students to help in the community, and believe that despite all the hard work, it is worth it to lend a hand.

“It just shows that there’s so much that you can get involved in,” senior Tucker Douglass said. “There is just a lot more that you can contribute to than you know about, like I didn’t know there was an Alzheimer’s race. It just feels good to help people; that’s just what it boils down to.”