PORTAGE — The 2017 Alzheimer’s Walk is Sunday, Sept. 10 at Riverside Park in Portage. Join local Columbia/Marquette county neighbors like Emil Mravik, the family chair of this year’s walk. Mravik cared for his wife, Dawn, for many years and learned caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias means learning to take each day as it comes.

“You have to take care of your partner the best you can,” he said. “You can’t change it.”

Emil said the biggest challenge was accepting the fact that you and your loved one are unable to communicate the way you have in the past. His wife has passed away, but Emil said he will always share a strong connection with other caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

“Be aware of what you have to be prepared for,” Emil advised them. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help and let others know your story. They can’t help if they don’t know what’s happening.”

Mravik will join hundreds of Columbia/Marquette community members at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Walk. Proceeds raised will benefit the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, a non-profit serving Wisconsin for more than 30 years.

The 2017 Alzheimer’s Walk medical chair is Chris DeLapp, a community educator with the Columbus Hospital. He has been a supporter of ADAW’s monthly dementia caregiver support group held at Columbus Community Hospital, which has tripled in size thanks to his support and encouragement. Chris regularly refers families to ADAW for support and guidance.

Alzheimer’s Walk funds raised stay in Wisconsin to help fund ADAW programs and services, including the Monthly Memory Cafes in Portage and Westfield.

There are more than 110,000 Wisconsin residents currently living with some form of dementia disease, a number expected to increase as the general population ages. The Alzheimer’s Walk is a chance to raise funds and awareness. The event provides an opportunity for a disease that fosters isolation to be illuminated, for people living with dementia to be active in their community, and for caregivers to find support and companionship. Step forward and give hope by joining the Alzheimer’s Walk at support.alzwisc.org/green.