Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s Returns October 15 with Historic and Nature Walks

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on September 15, 2022

Citrus County’s Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s is coming up in Floral City on October 15.  The event, which is in its sixth year, raises funds for the Citrus-based Dementia Education Inc., a nonprofit organization that supports Citrus County families living with dementia. 

Debbie Selsavage, President of Coping with Dementia LLC, started the Walk in 2017.

She explains the unique purpose behind the Walk’s fundraising, “Most Alzheimer’s walks raise funds for research in search of a cure.  This is necessary and important, but we have chosen to raise money that supports care for individuals living with dementia.  Most families coping with dementia provide care at home, and this is a segment of medical care that is very underfunded.  We like the slogan, ‘Until there is a cure, there is care.’  Even if a miracle cure were discovered today, there are millions of Americans who will struggle with dementia care for many years to come.  There are 580,000 in Florida alone, and more than 6,000 just in Citrus County.”

find m friends
Dogs are welcome. Find M Friends team includes it bloodhounds. Image courtesy of Coping with Dementia.

Join the Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s event in Floral City October 15, 2022

The Walk, which raised more than $25,000 a year during its first three years, was adversely affected by COVID.  During 2020, the Walk was replaced by a virtual event, then in 2021 it was conducted both live and virtually, but with bad weather.  For both years, fund raising fell to less than half its previous yield. Organizers are hoping that 2022 will be the year the event bounces back to its previously level of support from sponsors, walkers, and teams. 

Anyone is welcome to join the event. You can register online at https://challenge.dementiaedu.org

Walking teams are created by families, businesses, churches, and clubs. Image courtesy of Coping with Dementia.

Ed Youngblood, President of beneficiary organization Dementia Education Inc., says, “We see things returning to normal.  People want to get out and enjoy themselves and have a good time.  Citrus County’s Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s is a place to have fun, meet with friends in a beautiful Old Florida community, and raise money for a worthy cause.”

Choose from a Nature Walk or a Historic Tour

Bring out your friends, family or coworkers to create a walking team and then enjoy a 1 mile nature walk or history tour in beautiful Floral City to help make life better for those who are suffering with Alzheimer’s in Citrus County.

The Walk, for which the Floral City Heritage Council is a promotional partner, has been developed around the beauty and history of this scenic Old Florida village.  Walkers have a choice of two walks.  These include a nature walk on the scenic Withlacoochee State Trail, or a stroll through the historical region of Floral City which includes an opportunity to visit the Duval-Metz House, which is the oldest existing residential structure in Citrus County, and the Floral City Heritage Museum. 

floral city heritage council officers
The Floral City Heritage Council is a partner in Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s. Officers don period costumes. R to L: Frank Peters, Marcia Beasley, Lynn Bassett and Tom Ritchie. Image courtesy of Coping with Dementia.

Members of the Heritage Council, dressed in 19th century costumes, will be on hand to greet walkers in the Town Center, where the Walk begins.

Raise Funds to Help Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Sufferers

The Walk raises funds through individual entry fees – only $20 per person – and sponsorships from Citrus County businesses that range from $250 to $1,000.  Walkers and walking teams can register from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. the morning of the event, or register in advance on line at https://challenge.dementiaedu.org.  Sponsorship information is available from Janice Martin at 352-477-1866 or via e-mail [email protected].

Headquarters for the Walk is the Floral City Town Center at 8370 East Orange Avenue.  Registration opens at 8 a.m., opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m., and the Walk begins at 9:30.  There will be live music, Bar-B-Q prepared on site, free on-site memory screenings, prizes, and a dementia awareness photo exhibit at the Public Library nearby.  Activities will conclude by noon. 

alzheimer's
Floral City Library Circulation Supervisor TerriAnne Caraluzzo reviews the Great Americans Alzheimer’s Awareness photo exhibit.

Have fun, be Healthy, support Families living with Dementia!

Debbie Selsavage explains, “This event is designed for everyone.  The two walks are short, easy, and very scenic.  We also keep the entry fee donation very low so anyone can afford to participate.”

There will be live music throughout the event to enjoy.

Paula Bateman and Paula’s Pure Vintage provides music for the opening ceremony 2019. There will be live music throughout the event. Image courtesy of Coping with Dementia.

When you have completed one or both of the walks, come back and visit the Floral City Historic museum and giftshop, visit the Floral City Library to see the Dementia Education Famous Americans Photo Exhibit featuring people that have succumbed to dementia, take a tour of the Historic Duval-Metz residential home, and, if you want, visit the Lions Club for a drink. You may even see a historic demonstration or two, some antique/vintage cars may appear during the event, and please do not forget to take home a BBQ dinner prepared by Floral City Mt. Carmel Church.

Selsavage is proud that the Walk has always been a responsible, community-based event. 

citrus walk aware for alzheimer's
Awards for the Walk 2020. Top prize is the Mary Blair Darling Top Team Award. Image courtesy of Coping with Dementia.

She explains, “With many fund-raising events, participants never know how much money is raised or how funds are dispensed or managed.  We have published a report each year that reveals income, expenses, and how much money was donated to Dementia Education Inc.  It is available to anyone and we are especially proud that we have held our expenses to less than 10 percent, which means more money goes to the beneficiary support Citrus County families living with dementia. Nothing goes for salaries, and we keep our overhead very low.”

To enter online, or to become a sponsor, go to https://challenge.dementiaedu.org.  Or just show up on the morning of the event to register.  For more information, call 352-422-3663 or 352-477-1866.

Schedule of Events for the 6th Annual Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s Event

Join the Citrus Walk Aware for Alzheimer’s in Historic Floral City on October 15, 2022. 

Day of Registration: 8:00 am-9:00 am

  • Visit the Historic Museum
  • Visit The Historic Duval-Metz home
  • Visit The Floral City Library and see the Famous Americans Dementia Education Photo Exhibit
  • Listen to some Live Music
  • Visit the Skyline Mobile Research Bus

Opening Ceremonies: 9:00 am-9:30 am

  • Presenting of the Colors by a local Boys Scout Troop

Walk: 9:30 am-11:30 am

  • Walk on the Witalocoochee State Trail-about 1-1 1/2 miles in length
  • Walk the Historic Floral City down Orange Ave and coming back on Marvin Street-about 1 miles in length

Come back to the Floral City Town Center and enjoy some BBQ from Mt. Carmel Methodist Church (additional charge for barbecue).

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