Nassau County Walk to End Alzheimer’s kickoff event builds energy for September walk

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The Nassau County kickoff event was at Vienna of Roslyn Tuesday evening. (Photo by Teri West)

Though Nassau County’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s is not until September, Marie Taylor already has her eyes set on fundraising, an effort she organizes for Edward Jones out of her West Hempstead branch.

The company, where she is a financial adviser, has branches across the country and in Canada, and this year, Taylor’s goal is to get each of them to register to participate with the company’s team.

Taylor was one of a handful of people who came out for Nassau County’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s kickoff event Tuesday at Vienna of Roslyn, where participants mingled and organization representatives spoke about their plans for the second annual Nassau County event.

“I think all of you know how dreaded this disease is, and the numbers are growing exponentially which is why events like the walk and us raising funds are so key,” said Doug Davidson, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Long Island Chapter.

The first annual Nassau County walk raised more than $200,000. The event will return to Eisenhower Park Sept. 15.

“Before I worked for the Alzheimer’s Association I really didn’t know that Alzheimer’s killed,” said Tinamarie Hardekopf, the Nassau County walk director. “You’re not educated enough and now knowing that it kills more than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined, the statistics are just overwhelming.”

Top fundraiser Alyson Irom of Manhasset attended the kickoff with her mother, Carole Klein. Last year, Irom and her twin, Andrew Klein, raised more than $21,000, the most of any participating team.

The effort was in honor of their father, Stanley Klein, who lives with Alzheimer’s. This year, Irom said she plans to ask for donations for her birthday.

Though she doesn’t have a personal connection to the disease, Taylor said she sees it affect clients at her investment firm.

“You’ll have one part of the family who takes care of all the expenses or all the finances and that gets diminished,” she said. “So financially, it’s devastating for them and mentally it’s devastating because it pulls the family apart.”

Her company is on track to raise $12 million for the cause in less than five years, Taylor said.

Like Taylor, walk chair Haley Mayer has a national team for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s with her company Prager Metis. Its goal this year is $250,000, she said.

“So far we’re at 25k of the 250 but we will hit it,” she said. “I see it coming.”

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