Hundreds of walkers aim to cure nation's most expensive disease - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Hundreds of walkers aim to cure nation's most expensive disease

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MADISON (WKOW)-- Alzheimer's Disease is widely considered the most expensive disease to treat. Estimates show that it will cost Americans more than $203 billion this year alone.

On Sunday morning more than a thousand walkers braved the cold and rainy weather to participate in this year's Walk to End Alzheimer's

"We're getting a little rained out, but that's not stopping anyone. You can see behind me the momentum is huge. People are passionate about what we do and looking for a treatment and a means of prevention for Alzheimer's," event coordinator Kari Paterson says.

The 2.5 mile walk started at Monona Terrace in Madison and went along the shoreline of Lake Monona. Hundreds of plastic flowers were set up at the finish line. Each flower symbolizes someone who either has Alzheimer's, has died from Alzheimer's, or is a care giver of a family member or friend.

"When I was doing the fundraising it was very powerful to see how many people are impacted by this disease. It's incredible," Kris Owens says.

Owens and her team raised more than $2,000 for this year's event. She is walking for the first time in honor of her father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease just over a year ago.

"It changes everybody's lives. It just changes the way you work and watch the person and the way you talk to them. It just changes everything," Owens says.

Other walkers like Brittany Chapman have been walking for years. She walks in memory of her grandmother who died three years ago after a long battle with the disease.

"For my whole family it was very emotional because my grandma just passed away about two months before that. There was a lot of crying that day," Chapman says.

Since that day Chapman and several other walkers have found a new community of caregivers and patients. The community provides them the support they need to fight this ongoing battle against Alzheimer's.

"To know that you're not alone and that there are other people going through this and they're willing to help you, that's wonderful," Chapman says.

Sunday's walk brought in more than $130,000 for Alzheimer's research. Organizers say it will help the more than 5-million people who are living with the disease.

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