2021 San Diego Walk to End Alzheimer’s to be held Oct. 9


“In my family tree, you can find Alzheimer’s on every branch,” Brian Cluster says as he recalls the generations before him who have passed from the horrible disease. “First my grandfather when I was in high school; my aunts and uncles were struck with this disease in their 70s; and now my mother has it.”

BrianCluster and Mom Bev Boyett
BrianCluster and Mom Bev Boyett
(Courtesy of Alzheimer’s Association)

Cluster decided a little over a year ago that fighting Alzheimer’s was going to be the charitable focus for the rest of his life. Half a country away from his beloved mother, his conversations now are very brief due to her difficulty communicating. “My three daughters and extended family are joining me and building a growing Walk to End Alzheimer’s team this year,” he adds. “Our team is called ‘Nunc Coepi,’” he adds, referring to a Latin phrase that basically means ‘now I begin.’ That’s my theme because no matter how bad the day may be or how bad you feel, you need to keep getting up and begin each new day with a new perspective.”

Cluster is participating in this year’s San Diego Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, Oct. 9, which this year will be held at NTC Park in Point Loma, but also, for those who wish to walk socially distanced on their own street, in every neighborhood where a walker in San Diego County lives.

Walk teams who wish to participate in their neighborhoods with friends or families, just as those who will be at NTC Park and equally aware of social distancing, will be carrying flags or banners to bring awareness of the need to beat Alzheimer’s disease to everyone in their community.

“This is all about investing in a future without dementia,” says Cluster. “We’re fighting to see that first survivor of Alzheimer’s, if not in my generation, then in my children’s.”

On Walk day, participants honor those affected by Alzheimer’s with the poignant Promise Garden ceremony — a mission-focused experience that signifies our solidarity in the fight against the disease. The colors of the Promise Garden flowers represent people’s connection to Alzheimer’s — their personal reasons to end the disease.

While plans are moving forward to host the San Diego Walk in person, the health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers remain the top priorities. The San Diego Walk will implement safety protocols including physical distancing, masks (where required), contactless registration, hand sanitizing stations and more. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local guidelines will be adhered to ensure Walk events are safe for attendees. Options will be offered to participate online and in local neighborhoods.

Someone develops Alzheimer’s in this country every 65 seconds, and Alzheimer’s is the third leading cause of death in California. Money raised at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will help serve more people with dementia, their caregivers and others in the community by providing outreach, education, advocacy and research.

There is no registration fee to attend the Oct. 9 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, however, if you raise $100, you will receive a Walk t-shirt. Start or join a team at www.alz.org/walk. This year’s event chair is Genevive Lopez, Head of Digital Engagement at LunaDNA.

To register for this year’s Walk in advance, go to alz.org/walk.