Himmes: Why I walk to end Alzheimer’s disease

Jim Himmes
Valley Voices
The Himmes family participates in the 2019 Vail Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Eagle Ranch in honor of mother and wife, Elizabeth Himmes.
Courtesy photo

Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily is running testimonials leading up to the Sept. 25 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Brush Creek Park in Eagle.

My daughter, Anna, and I will walk during the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Anna organized “Team Mom” to honor her mom and my wife, Elizabeth, who died of the disease in February of this year.

I also lost my mother, Virginia, to Alzheimer’s over 20 years ago. So, I have two major reasons to walk — one is my direct experience with the disease and second is to raise funds for research to end the disease. I don’t want the generations ahead of us to go through what we did. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the effects this devastating disease has on families and there have been too many loved ones affected in our valley over the years.

Alzheimer’s disease is an insidious disease that wreaks havoc on the brain and memory. From a distance, I watched my mother’s memory fade away and most directly, I watched my wife’s memory and physical abilities fade away. It was heart-breaking.

The loss is difficult, but then, when you look at the figures – they’re staggering. More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 145% since 2000 and nationally it will cost the United States $355 billion to deal with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

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This needs to change, and the way to change it is through continued research to find a cure. I hope you will join Anna and me on Saturday, Sept. 25 and walk to end this horrible disease. The Vail Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s event takes place at the Brush Creek Park in Eagle. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with a program at 9:30 a.m. followed by an easy stroll on the paths through Eagle.

To register or donate, visit If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, call Melinda Gladitsch at 970-471-0175 or email

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