Oct. 17—While waiting for the start of Aiken's Walk to End Alzheimer's on Saturday at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center, Daria Carney talked about why the event was important to her.
"It's a passion of mine to stop Alzheimer's," she said. "It's a terrible disease because you watch the person in front of you disintegrate. There are no survivors."
Alzheimer's killed Carney's mother, and Carney's husband, David, has been battling the disease for approximately 12 years.
"He is in the final stages," said Carney, but David still was able to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's with his wife.
He rode in a wheelchair pushed by his stepson, Michael Russell.
Carney is the captain of the Women of Woodside Walkers, which was the top fundraising team for Saturday's event, with a total of nearly $25,000 in donations collected.
On her own, Carney raised well over 50% of that amount.
"It's because of David," said Carney of her success in finding willing donors. "Everybody who knows him loves him. The minute you say Alzheimer's and David, they want to give."
Carney didn't confine her requests for contributions to Aiken area residents.
"David was the head of a law firm in Maryland, and they gave a lot of money," she said. "I also went worldwide. Anyone I knew anywhere in the world, I asked."
Forty-eight teams registered for Aiken's 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer's, according Alexis Watts of the South Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
In addition to the Women of Woodside Walkers, they included the Rotary Walkers for Alzheimer's (Rotary Club of Aiken), St. Paul Lutheran Church, Second Baptist Church, Aiken Sunrise Rotary and the City of Aiken.
All the teams combined raised more than $50,000, which was a record for Aiken's Walk to End Alzheimer's, said Watts, who is the South Carolina Chapter's director of development for the Midlands region.
The Women of Woodside Walkers' total for 2021 was the highest ever for a team in Aiken's Walk to End Alzheimer's, and for the fourth year in a row, the group was the event's leading money-raising squad.
Teams have until Dec. 31 to complete their fundraising for 2021, and Watts expressed confidence that the goal for Aiken of $60,000 would be met or exceeded.
"I think a lot more donations will be coming in," she said.
The funds generated by Aiken's Walk to End Alzheimer's will be used to help pay for Alzheimer's care, support and research.
Walk to End Alzheimer's events are held annually in more than 600 locations nationwide, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Aiken's version was a two-lap stroll on the Weeks Activities Center's walking track. Because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, participants also could walk in their neighborhoods or in other locations where they thought social distancing would be easier.
For more information about the Alzheimer's Association or the Walk to End Alzheimer's, visit alz.org.