Join the Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimers October 20
On October 20, 2018, Citrus County will host its second annual Walk to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Family Organization (AFO). The non-profit provides services and support for caregivers of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Family Organization is active in eight west-central Florida counties, including Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties.
The Walk will be staged at the Town Center of picturesque Floral City. Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s is the brainchild of Inverness residents Debbie Selsavage and her partner Ed Youngblood. In its first year, the Walk became the second-largest fund-raising event for the AFO; second only to a Walk in The Villages that has been running for six years.
Selsavage is the President of Coping with Dementia LLC, a company that provides training for caregivers and sponsors projects to improve Alzheimer’s awareness. She wears two hats relevant to the organization of the event. While her company is the primary organizer of Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s, Debbie is the current President of the AFO’s Board of Directors, giving her a double incentive to succeed in raising both money and awareness.
“We were thrilled with our success last year,” reports Selsavage, “and we have set a goal of passing The Villages this year to become the AFO’s leading fund-raiser.” To underscore this ambition, Selsavage proudly displays a purple campaign button stating, “Walk Aware: It Takes More Than The Villages,” and laughs. “My colleagues in The Villages were a bit taken aback by our slogan, but if this rivalry results in both events raising more money for the AFO, then it’s all well and good!”
Ed Youngblood, who handles marketing strategy for both Coping with Dementia LLC and the Citrus County Walk, says, “We were excited with our fund-raising results last year, but even more pleased with the efficiency of our performance. We grossed about $24,000 with an expense ratio of only seven percent. Simply put, for every dollar generated, 93 cents was passed on to the AFO.”
Strong Media Sponsorship from Citrus County Chronicle and NatureCoaster.com
Youngblood explains that high efficiency was achieved with the participation of many in-kind sponsors providing support services free of charge. A very generous in-kind advertising support package from the Citrus County Chronicle, plus several promotional segments on WYKE Television raised awareness. In addition, the Citrus County Chronicle published a special Alzheimer’s issue, which will come out on Sunday, October 14, 2018 for this year’s Walk.
“We can’t do what we do without strong media support, and this year it will be even better because NatureCoaster.com has come in as an official media sponsor.”
Selsavage and Youngblood are expecting to raise more money for the AFO this year. Youngblood explains, “In our first year, much of the local health care industry seemed to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude, but we are receiving tremendous support from Citrus County Continuity of Care (CCCC).” He explains, “CCCC, a networking and ongoing education trade organization with more than 50 members, has announced a goal of 100 percent membership participation.”
Shoe Your Support Decorating Contest
Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s expects good results from a new and exciting accompanying promotion called “Shoe Your Support.” Shoe Your Support is a county-wide shoe decorating competition receiving enthusiastic support from the Citrus County School System as well as the Chronicle.
Selsavage states, “We’re hoping to have lots of beautiful shoes on display in the Floral City Town Center the morning of the Walk. Winners will be chosen from people who pay a dollar per vote to support their favorite designs.”
She adds that the Chronicle will also conduct internet voting at Chronicleonline.com in the days prior to the Walk to raise funds at the rate of one dollar per vote.
‘Still Alice’ to be shown at the Valerie Theatre
A third component will be two showings of the Oscar-winning movie ‘Still Alice’ at the historic Valerie Theatre in Inverness on October 21st. With the cost of showing the film fully sponsored by Grand Living at Citrus Hills, a hundred percent of receipts from ticket sales will go to the Alzheimer’s Family Organization.
How to Participate in the Walk for Awareness
Pre-register for the Walk at , but late-comers can register at the Lion’s Club at the Town Center in Floral City from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, October 19th, or at 8 a.m. on the following morning. The Walk will begin at 9 a.m. on the 20th.
Selsavage clarifies, “For an entry fee donation of $25.00, walkers have a choice of two walks: a Nature Walk on the Withlacoochee State Trail south of Floral City, or an Historical Walk down Orange Avenue and through the town.” Teams of ten or more walkers will get a five-dollar discount from each entry fee donation.
Many additional Activities will be Held in Floral City
Selsavage continues, “There will also be drawings for gift baskets, original art, and beautiful prizes, live music by Paula’s Pure Vintage, and Mount Carmel Methodist Church will be on hand with its huge bar-b-que smoker to keep everyone happy and well fed.”
There will be in and around the Floral City Town Center many free educational features including a display at the Floral City Library, the Virtual Dementia Tour sponsored by Senior Helpers, free hearing screening by Advanced Family Hearing, and a demonstration by Find-M Friends about how lives can be saved through the use of human scent preservation kits and scent-discriminating blood hounds. Life South will also accept blood donations at the library.
The Floral City Heritage Council is a supporting partner of the event, and its members will be there, decked out in late-19th century costumes, to discuss and celebrate their beautiful Old Florida town.
Sponsorship Opportunities as Investments
In addition to many in-kind sponsorship opportunities, individuals and companies may choose from a schedule of monetary sponsorships ranging from $250 to $5,000. Selsavage reports, “We knew we were off to a tremendous start this year when Nature Coast Financial Advisors came aboard as a $5,000 lead sponsor the very first day we announced our 2018 plan!”
Youngblood adds, “We have designed monetary sponsorship to be much more than just charity. It can also be a business investment backed by a very strong promotional component.” He explains that all sponsors at the level of $500 or more will receive an exclusive press release with photo distributed to 150 media outlets in eight west-central Florida counties, their logo on Walk t-shirts and banners, the right to have an information table at the Town Center in Floral City, and repeated posts on four Facebook pages with each post containing a hyperlink to the sponsor’s web site.
Citrus Aware for Alzheimer’s Week October 14-21, 2018
Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s has also garnered considerable political support since both the Board of County Commissioners and the Inverness City Council will officially declare October 14 through 21 as Citrus Aware for Alzheimer’s Week.
For information on sponsorship opportunities, how to enter Shoe Your Support, or to pre-enter the Walk on line, interested parties can go to www.alzheimersfamily.org/walkaware or call 352-422-3663. To acquire tickets on line for one of the showings of “Still Alice,” go to www.valerietheatre.org. Tickets are also available at the Box Office, in person or by phone, Thursday-Saturday, Noon to 4 p.m. and one hour before show times. 207 Courthouse Square, Inverness, FL 34450 (352)341-7850×2.
Selsavage concludes, “We are looking forward to a tremendous event this year. For this we must thank so many enthusiastic supporters among Citrus County individuals and companies. While our primary objective is to raise money for the AFO, we are also confident that Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s will show off our county in a very positive light with the result of improving tourism year-round. It’s a win-win for both the Alzheimer’s Family Organization as well as Citrus County.”