PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Millions of Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s Disease every year, including more than 580,000 Floridians who are living with it today. In hope of one day finding a cure, the Emerald Coast chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association hosted the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Sunday at Florida State University Panama City (FSU PC) Sunday.

A sea of people clad in purple attire gathered together in support of those living with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers and efforts to end the disease. Over 200 people and multiple sponsors attended the event, working together to raise more than $70,000 to help fund care, support, educational programs, advocacy and research through the Alzheimer’s Association.

“It’s just such a wonderful thing and it’s such a wonderful cause. It’s bad that it’s there for us, but it’s wonderful that people are willing to make the effort to do so, and I am so appreciative of the Alzheimer’s Association,” said Bren Davis.

A Promise Garden full of different colored flowers tied each participant to their purpose in supporting the cause.

“The purple means that you have lost someone to Alzheimer’s. And there are other colors, too. You know, one, the orange is just that you generally want Alzheimer’s to end and supporting Alzheimer’s and want it to go away. And then you have a blue, which means that somebody has Alzheimer’s,” Davis said.

For those who have the disease, finding a cure is that much more important.

“I was diagnosed myself at 61. I’m now 62 with Alzheimer’s. And so, it’s near and dear to my heart, especially if we can get a cure in my lifetime would be even more awesome,” said Sharron Hobbs.

FSU PC’s Associate Dean Dr. Irvin Clark played a big part in bringing the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Emerald Coast to Bay County. With a personal connection to the cause, he served as a volunteer and on the organizing committee to bring the whole event together.

“This is a great day for the Alzheimer’s Association. It is a great day for FSU Panama City. And if you missed today’s walk, there are still opportunities to give online,” said FSU Panama City Associate Dean Dr. Irvin Clark.

If you missed the walk and would like to support the cause, donations can be made online until December 30, 2023.