Scene in Edmonds: Walking the Block to fight Alzheimer’s

“You get a little pumped up!” Velva Salterelli said as she headed back into Edmonds Landing after her purple-clad lap around the assisted living facility’s block. She was referring to the excitement of the Fourth annual Walk the Block event, which raised over $3,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association Thursday afternoon, according to Victoria Cole, Edmonds Landing marketing director .

Salterelli created the event when she came to Edmonds Landing from a different retirement facility, where the residents took a bus to a larger Walk to End Alzheimer’s — a common practice for many of the walks. After losing her husband “Salty” to Alzheimer’s disease, Salterelli arrived at Edmonds Landing and was determined to do something to honor him and contribute to the effort.

Thus, Walk the Block was born — an original idea branching off from the larger two- and one-mile walks that will take place in cities including Everett over the next two months. Kimber Behrends of the Alzheimer’s Association said she knew of one other branch-off event, a park walk in Anacortes put on by a memory care facility there.

The crowd at Thursday’s even represented a range of ages, with some “rolling” the block either in a stroller or in a wheelchair. Most wore the dark purple shirts provided by the Alzheimer’s Association, and volunteers passed out purple beads and bandanas to ensure everyone was decorated.

Despite the event being in its fourth year (and some participants have walked all four years), the turnout was strong at around 45 people, a few more than last year. “This is the first year that many of our residents who had walked in the past, could no longer do so, and with so many volunteers they were still able to join with a volunteer now pushing their chairs around the block,” Cole said. “I am so grateful.”

Some walkers were new this year, such as Sally Garcia, who moved into Edmonds Landing last October. Her family — Elise, Grace and Mark Roodhouse–  came out to walk with her new community.

“The Landing needs to be motivated,” Salterelli said. She hopes that the tradition continues for years to come. Thanks to a growing number of sponsors and supporters including Robert Morgan of Edward Jones in Poulsbo, Cole hopes it will.

— Story and photos by Mardy Harding

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