Oak Hammock at UF will host its annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s at 10 a.m. on Thursday to raise awareness and funds for the crippling disease.
The walk is a nearly one-mile loop around the Oak Hammock campus, starting at the Health Pavilion Parking Lot at 2660 SW 53rd Lane.
“There are some of our residents who have the disease, and some of their spouses are here, and they’ll walk with them,” said Kathy Cafazzo, Oak Hammock’s Communications and Marketing Coordinator, in a phone interview. “It is more personal when you see someone and their loved one go through such a hard time, and so it’s a way to show – hey, we got your back.”
For more than a decade prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oak Hammock community members participated in the local Gainesville walk that begins at Trinity United Methodist Church. Once COVID hit, Oak Hammock members knew they couldn’t be out in public.
The staff decided to continue their commitment to the cause. They held a walk on the campus in 2020 in a minor event that included only staff and residents to be more mindful of physical distancing.
“The staff wanted to do something where they could physically distance themselves from each other and raise money internally to donate directly to the Alzheimer’s Association,” Cafazzo said. “It was fun and successful.”
Since 2020, Oak Hammock continued to have its own smaller walk each year. The event is popular amongst the senior living community’s campus.
“Our residents are so generous and cognizant of health-related information,” Cafazzo said. “Alzheimer’s is a disease that has no cure, so our community tries our best to find a way to raise money and funds for research.”
The community can include those with a cognitive disease or physical challenges. Residents and staff help each other by pushing chairs and driving carts, which allows everyone to participate.