Walk to De-feet Dementia is Saturday

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, September 23, 2021

This year’s 17th annual Walk To De-feet Dementia  is back to its usual in-person format after going virtual last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We usually get participants from all over Beaufort County, about 100 in a normal year, but there was still a lot of support through our sponsorships,” said Helen Tate, who has been chairperson for Beaufort County’s walk committee for the last six years.

The event is scheduled – rain or shine – for this Saturday from 9 a.m. until about noon. This year’s “headquarters” will be at First Baptist Church, at 113 North Harvey Street. Those who cannot physically participate in the walk – and others interested in learning more about dementia – will be able to participate in the Expo and Education Fair inside the church building while the walk is taking place.

Tate said the dementia experts who will be inside First Baptist that day are as crucial to the 17-year event as the walk itself. “Everyone will have the ability to talk to several of North Carolina’s experts,” she said, including the heads of neurology and physical therapy at ECU, nursing specialists from Vidant Beaufort Hospital, and representatives from the Mideast Commission Area Agency on Aging, Project Care, North Carolina Brain Health, and the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina.

Tate added that the group’s traditional “First Bank Raffle” returns this year, featuring prizes including a Myrtle Beach weekend, a round of golf for four – including the cart– at Washington Yacht and Country Club, and much more. She said all proceeds from donations and raffle ticket sales go to dementia research based in North Carolina through the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina.

Participants can still register at the church from 9 a.m. until the walk departs at 10:30 a.m.  A short ceremony will precede the step-off, including a moment of silence for dementia patients and caregivers “and a prayer to watch over us as we walk,”  Tate said.

Masks are required inside the church building, but not during the actual walk. The course is approximately two miles long, starting at Second Street near the church then turning down Water Street, onto the boardwalk, then back to First Baptist. Tate said a police escort “to lead the pack” is a traditional feature of the parade, as well as “my husband and I in the golf cart, behind every one, in case someone needs us.” Some dementia awareness clothing and all sorts of take-home educational resources will also be available at the Expo and Education Fair. Pizza, bottled water and Coca-Cola will be available at the church.