East Bay Walk to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s


Photo provided by Maya Guertsen

Team Stacy from the 2021 East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s is seen at the walk with their T-shirts and signs, among balloons and many other crowds. This year’s event aims to raise more funds to help in disease research.

The East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s is set to take place on Oct. 29 at the Bishop Ranch City Center in San Ramon. The Walk is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care. 

“The Walk is open to everyone. It is free to register but we encourage all participants to fundraise. We also encourage participants to form teams. This makes Walk day fun for participants as they can include their friends, family, co-workers, et cetera in the cause,” said Maya Guertsen, the Director of the East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

The brain disease kills “more than breast and prostate cancer combined—1 in 3 seniors in America. It leads to memory loss, as well as damaged speech and response to the environment.”

 More than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s. An estimated 6.5 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in 2022,” said Guertsen.

The Walk and Alzheimer’s Association’s goal is to see “a world without Alzheimer’s or dementia” and encourage youth to advocate for more disease research and funding. 

The Walk is organized by The Alzheimer’s Association and Related Disorders, Inc., a nonprofit started in 1980 by Jerome H. Stone. The association offers Alzheimer’s patients research clinical trials, support groups, and doctors ready with one call. Those who do not have the disease can help fight the deadly disease by volunteering or working with the Alzheimer’s Association. 

“I was planning the marketing for large tech conferences, while also working with non-profit clients to plan fundraising events. It was over the last five years that I realized that my fundraising work was more fulfilling and I wanted to pursue a role that would allow me to do that full time, for a cause that is important to me,” said Guertsen

Guertsen has been working for the nonprofit organization for over 20 years. The Alzheimer’s Association has 74 chapters all over the nation. 

“My grandmother had dementia and my aunt was recently diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, so when I saw the posting for the Director of the East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s, I knew that it was the right job for me,” said Guertsen.

The closest to Pleasanton are in Lafayette and San Jose, and the Walk takes place in San Ramon. Typically, participants in the walk sign up with teams to fundraise efficiently and earn T-shirts upon raising one hundred dollars for the Walk. These funds will also go toward Alzheimer’s research, clinical trials of medication and therapies, and providing caregivers for patients and their families. 

“For the 2022 Walk, our goal is to raise $570,000. We are hoping to have between 1500 and 2000 participants,” said Guertsen.

The East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s is approaching fast and is a short drive from Pleasanton. The Walk currently has 704 participants signed up, which is half of their goal. 100 percent of profits go toward the Alzheimer’s Association’s advances in helping people with Alzheimer’s and related disorders as well as funding research for a cure.