KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The traditional fundraiser for Alzheimer's Tennessee is different in 2020.
The pandemic has pushed people to walk a marathon a little at a time before the actual walk date for "Walk to Make Alzheimer's a Memory."
While the format is different the passion is the same for people touched by Alzheimer's.
Rhonda Kosciewicz remembered her grandmother.
"Just the sweetest thing. Never had a cross word for anyone."
That was Catherine Wilson for most of her life.
Then she gradually became more and more forgetful and confused.
"Balancing her checkbook, just the small things of day to day life. She would ask the same question ten or twenty times within 5 minutes, things like that. It became obvious that something was going on," Rhonda said.
She reached out to Alzheimer's Tennessee because she needed resources to help the woman she called Mamaw.
"They have a lot of workshops, family support groups, live well academy," she said.
"But for me it was going to some of those seminars with an expert to understand how to communicate with them and how to approach them and not what to do. Sometimes that's just as valuable as knowing what to do," she said.
Mary Lynne Payne is co-chair of the Knoxville Walk To Make Alzheimer's A Memory .
"It is so important to maintain the programs and services that Alzheimer's Tennessee provides this community," Mary Lynne said.
This time, you can walk a marathon before the official walk date. Some women are doing that at Avenir Memory Care in Farragut.
"Get outside, get your steps in, and ask people to sponsor you while you're doing that. It's fun. You can take videos of yourself walking and say hey I'm walking for Alzheimer's Tennessee or my grandmother or whomever," she said.
On the day of the walk, bring your donation and pick up your prizes.
The Knoxville walk is June 27 and includes a drive-in at the All Saints Catholic Church parking lot.
"A car host will be coming to your car as you drive in. You can decorate your car. You can put balloons on it, there will be honking horns," she said.
It will be a celebration to support research and resources.
Rhonda said, "My hope is that not only do they find a cure but find some way to slow the whole thing down."
Mamaw passed away four years ago.
Until then, her granddaughter supported her in so many ways, with help.
"It's overwhelming. It is absolutely overwhelming. So if there is anybody watching this and they feel that way, know that there is help. They can reach out to Alzheimer's Tennessee," she said.
The walk this Saturday, June 20, is from 9:00 to noon at the Oak Ridge Civic Center.
The walk next Saturday, June 27, is from 9:00 to noon at All Saints Catholic Church.