Hundreds of area residents who have been impacted in some way by Alzheimer’s and dementia gathered in Waxahachie on Oct. 19 for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event hosted by the Dallas branch of the national Alzheimer’s Association.

More than 400 people participated in the walk meant to raise awareness for the disease, which claims the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year. The event was also a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association, a national organization that raises money for Alzheimer’s research and to administer resources to those afflicted by Alzheimer’s and their families. In total, the organization raised more than $45,000 at the event.

The Dallas branch of the Alzheimer’s Association has been attempting to strengthen its outreach to rural counties including Kaufman throughout 2019. The organization held a community forum at the Kaufman County Library in May, where county residents discussed the issues the disease has prevented for them in their lives and how the organization can help them. Since then, the association hosted two community training events at the First Baptist Church in Kaufman in July. Organizers invited county residents to the walk in Waxahachie at both events and the guest speakers of the event included Paula Raynes, a Terrell resident who has been diagnosed with dementia.

“As someone who has lived with dementia for years, I’ve found one of the best methods for fighting the disease is continuing to interact with my friends and staying as active as I can,” Raynes said. “I hope that one day, groups like the Alzheimer’s Association will be able to help lead us to a cure. But until then, by taking steps like these, the best we can do is to keep doing the best we can.”

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