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Over $85,000 raised for 2023 Walk to End Alzheimer's

The two-mile walk took place at Iowa Western Community College with over 650 participants for this year's walk. KMTV 3 News Now anchor Zach Williamson was the emcee of the event.
Posted at 10:22 AM, Sep 24, 2023

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — Four different colors of flowers filled Iowa Western Community College on Saturday. It's known as the Promise Garden and they all represent someone who has a personal tie to Alzheimer's.

"It's like you're a widow, but they're still alive. You don't have that partner anymore to help you make all the decisions you need to make," said JoDee Junkman, who walked and is part of the walk committee for the Walk to End Alzheimer's.

Junkman knows Alzheimer's all too well. Her mother and brother died from early on-set Alzheimer's. Junkman is now a caregiver to her husband, who also has early on-set Alzheimer's — calling some days overwhelming.

"It's devastating. The effects that it has on the family, emotionally, and financially is just overwhelming some days," said Junkman.

She was one of the hundreds of people who walked two miles at the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's. Jessica Duncan, who is the walk manager for the Alzheimer's Association Iowa Chapter, said seeing so many faces makes the walk worth it every year.

"Once you come to a walk, it's infectious. You want to come back every year. The Promise Garden ceremony is something everyone has a connection to it," said Duncan.

Eventually, people hope to add another flower to the Promise Garden. To one day, hopefully, have a survivor of Alzheimer's.

"It's to find a cure. So, no one else has to go through this," said Junkman.

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