More than a thousand participate in Walk to End Alzheimer's downtown

Megan Barton had every opportunity to kick back, relax and enjoy a Saturday morning after a long week of studying business at Georgia Military College.


Instead, the 20-year-old joined her parents and more than a thousand walkers at the 24th annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Augusta Common.

Barton; parents Greg and Tan­na Barton; brother Mercer, 4; and family friend Shaun Rhodes gathered in the sea of purple, orange, blue and yellow T-shirts.

Purple T-shirts dominated the Common, designating those who have lost a friend or family member to the disease.

Morning temperatures in the mid-40s didn’t keep Corey Patter­son, wife Shanda and their 2-year-old son Kendall from participating in the 5K walk.

“A friend suffers from this ailment, and this is our way of supporting such a great cause,” said Corey Patterson, a Grovetown resident.

Shanda Patterson said she witnesses the “cruel disease” daily during her work in the health care industry.

Tanna Barton said her mother, aunt and grandmother all suffered from the disease.

“We’re proud that our daughter Megan is here to support us. She’s witnessed how this takes a toll on the entire family,” she said.

Money raised locally, including funds from Saturday’s walk, will directly impact residents who live in the area, said Dee Dee Kurilla, the regional development director for the Georgia chapter of the Alz­heimer’s Association.

“These funds will provide care and support services to the 14,000 residents within our service area who are living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias,” she said.

The local chapter’s final goal for 2012 is $120,000. To date, $106,000 has been raised, Kurilla said.

“This was a great fundraising effort. We’re close to our goal and we’ll continue to collect funds through Nov. 30,” Kurilla said.