Two walks with one sole purpose

LANSING, Mich, (WLNS) – Today people took to the streets not only in the city of Lansing but East Lansing as well.

The annual “Aids Walk” and “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” event each brought in hundreds of people all aiming for one sole purpose.

For the past 21 years, the Aids Walk has attracted people to join forces and hit the pavement.

“It’s a terrific event that engages the entire community,” said Executive Director for Lansing Area Aids Network, Jake Distel.

Distel has participated in the movement for 15 years and it really strikes home for him.

“I lost my own partner in 1996 to HIV, we had been together for 17 years,” Distel stated.

For Distel, losing his soulmate meant raising awareness for the seemingly incurable disease.

“We can beat this thing if the community has a will to do so,” said Distel.

For others, including Richard Foster, this walk triggers heartwarming emotions as he’s battled the disease for nearly 32 years.

“It makes me feel loved. It creates an atmosphere that one of these days we will be able to eliminate aids,” Foster stated humbly stated.

And from one cause to another, the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” event at the Capitol drew in crowds of purple all leaning on each other for support.

“It just gives you a wonderful feeling that you aren’t alone,” said participant Jim Kruse.

For Kruse, the walk reaches a deeper level especially since he’s lost family to Alzheimer’s.

“I lost my mother, my grandmother and one aunt,” Kruse sadly stated.

Besides being a place where people can feel comfort, the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” event also raises awareness.

“We know our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and we know that’s in the near future,” Melissa Goodman, Development Director for the Michigan Great Lakes Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association said.

And even though these walks are special in their own way, they ultimately have one thing in common…they bring hope.

Both of these walks aimed to raise a significant amount of funds. The “Aids Walk” had goals to raise near $10,000 while the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” raised just over $165,000.

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