It was a Friday-afternoon sea of purple punctuated with pinwheels at Second and Dayton as an estimated 40 residents, staff and friends of Edmonds Landing turned out for the annual Walk Around the Block to support Alzheimer’s research, part of the nationwide Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Marchers ranged in age from 98 to 30.
An Edmonds Landing tradition for the past six years, the walk was begun by Landing resident Velva Salterelli to honor her husband of 51 years “Salty” Salterelli. Salty died of complications from Alzheimer’s in 2013.
“It’s been eight years now, and I miss him like it was yesterday,” confessed the 94-year-old Velva. “I look forward to this event every year to honor him, remember him, and do my part to find a cure for this disease that robs you of your mind, your dignity and your life.”
Part of the event involves fundraising, and each year the residents collect funds among themselves, friends and family to support Alzheimer’s research. This year set a new record for the Edmonds Landing event, with $5,240 donated as of the start of Friday’s walk – and more keeps trickling in.
“This year is especially significant because the Alzheimer’s Association is matching our fundraising,” explained Edmonds Landing Marketing Director Victoria Cole, who also serves as a cheerleader and honorary daughter to all the residents. “I’m so pleased and proud that with the match, we’re topping $10,000 to support Alzheimer’s research.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease is the sixth leading cause of death nationwide, killing more people than breast and prostate cancer combined. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and every 66 seconds someone develops the disease. And it’s expensive. In addition to the pain and heartbreak, Alzheimer’s drains the national economy of a staggering $236 billion annually.
The latest statistics show Alzheimer’s as the third leading cause of death in Washington state, with an Alzheimer’s death rate at sixth highest in the nation. Learn more at the Alzheimers Association website.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel