WATE 6 On Your Side Heroes

Volunteer who walks, fights to end Alzheimer’s says caregivers are the true heroes

WATE 6 On Your Side Heroes

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — COVID-19 has not stopped the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s.

But it also hasn’t stopped efforts to find a cure. This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association, just looks a little different this year.

Volunteer Darron Kidwell literally walks the walk when it comes to fighting Alzheimer’s Disease.

Darron is this week’s WATE 6 On Your Side Hero.

Instead of a sea of people walking together at Chilhowee Park for a common cause, this year, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is wherever you want it to be.

Kidwell says, “Don all of your purple that you can find, and get out and just walk. Walk where you are. Keep taking steps for the end of Alzheimer’s.”

As a top volunteer, Kidwell spends countless hours getting things ready for the big event.

Darron does this because Alzheimer’s has hit too close to home.

His dad, Leon, has Alzheimer’s.

His mother is Leon’s primary caregiver.

“Dad was diagnosed about four years ago, ” Darron says, “and we’re very fortunate that the progression of his Alzheimer’s has been slow, but still yet painful to watch the man that we knew for 80 years changing.” He went on to tell us, “I do not want my nieces and nephews and the future generations to have to go through this, so this is my 5th year walking in honor of my dad but also for everyone across the state and the nation and the world that are living with Alzheimer’s and any form of dementia.”

Darron is a true ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association.

He meets with lawmakers to push for research dollars.

This year, Darron got his nieces, nephews, and other family and friends together for a new fundraising project: the “Cooking up Memories” cookbook to benefit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Darron’s giving spirit and positive attitude have earned him our 6 On Your Side Hero award. It’s an award he wants to share.

“Thank you, I appreciate that, but as they say at the Emmy’s, I really give this honor to the caregivers that are out there, taking care of those Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, whether it’s in the facilities or in the home, or it’s just the family members. Those really are the true heroes,” Darron says.

This year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s is virtual.

Walk anywhere on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Be sure to log in to act.alz.org at 8:30 that morning for a special virtual opening ceremony and to help support the cause.

And see the planted Promise Garden with flowers representing different aspects of Alzheimer’s in honor or memory of those diagnosed with the disease.

You can view the garden at Zoo Knoxville between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

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