Residents and businesses unite to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease

Pat Kaplan of Palm Desert and Edie Keller of Rancho Mirage are honorary co-chairs for the 15th annual Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® on Saturday, March 1 at Palm Desert Civic Center Park (73-510 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260). Kaplan and Keller are among a small group who founded the local Alzheimer’s Association office in 1998.

More than 1,000 people from across the Coachella Valley will come together with area businesses at the much-anticipated event, which raises awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Jenifer Daniels of KPSP-TV (CBS Local 2) will emcee this year’s event, which includes a 2-mile Walk route, live music from the Delgado Band, a performance by popular smooth jazz saxophonist Will Donato, box lunches courtesy of Sherman’s Deli and Atria Hacienda, a festival area with wellness exhibits and children’s activities, a silent auction, opportunity drawings, dog bowls & treats, and awards. Walkers who raise $100 receive a commemorative T-shirt, those who raise $500 receive a T-shirt and Champions Club medallion. There are prizes for top fund-raising teams and individuals. Onsite registration opens at 9 a.m., opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m., the walk starts at 10:30 a.m.


To sign up, join a team, donate cash or prizes, or volunteer, contact the Alzheimer’s Association at or (760) 328-6767. Family Hospice Care, Atria Hacienda, The Desert Sun, Uno de 50, Eisenhower Medical Center, Sherman’s Deli and Custom Care Solutions are among the many businesses supporting the Walk.

Last March, more than 800 Alzheimer’s Association champions from throughout the desert communities raised close to $120,000 for Alzheimer’s disease care, support and research.

“The support we receive from the residents and businesses of the Coachella Valley is invaluable to our cause, and we look forward to a record-setting year,” said Susan Galeas, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter. “Monies raised help fund valuable research and provide much needed care and support to local families touched by the disease in the Coachella Valley.”

“We have been walking in Palm Desert for 15 years and the event keeps getting bigger and better,” said Anne Gimbel, regional director for the Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter. “New families and businesses join us every year, and we look forward to seeing them along with our returning walkers on March 1 at Civic Center Park.”

Walk participants collect donations for their teams and the top fund-raisers receive awards. Top fundraising team in 2013 was the “Five Star Club” from Eisenhower Medical Center. They raised more than $30,000.

Second-place team was “Sherman’s Walkers,” led by Janet Harris of Sherman’s Deli. Harris, whose late father Sherman Harris founded Sherman’s Deli, walked with her team in memory of her father. Third-place honors were shared by “Yes We Can!” the Alzheimer’s Association Friends, Family & Staff from the regional service center in Rancho Mirage and a team from the Dementia Help Center.

Top individual fundraiser was Janet Harris from “Sherman’s Walkers.” Second-place individual fundraiser was Valerie Weinstein co-captain of the Eisenhower “Five Star Club” and the third top fundraiser was Joan Schulman, co-captain of “Five Star Club” team. Competition for fundraising prizes is especially spirited during this 15th anniversary year.

There are nearly 11,000 individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s in the Coachella Valley. In the U.S., more than 5 million people currently live with Alzheimer’s, including more than half a million in California. Experts estimate that someone in America develops Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. By mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds.

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Held annually in hundreds of communities across the country, this inspiring event calls on volunteers of all ages to join the cause and raise funds in the fight against Alzheimer’s, the nation’s sixth leading cause of death.

The mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. For more information, visit or call 1-800-272-3900.