College of Marin Banner


Dominican University Team rallies to support research for Alzheimer’s disease at the Marin-Sonoma Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Sonoma State University in October.   –Photos by Vikki Patiño

An estimated 500 people joined forces for the Marin-Sonoma Walk to End Alzheimer’s held at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park.

Fundraising for the event, from walkers, sponsors and supporters, is more than $364,000. These proceeds will pay to help Alzheimer’s disease patients and advance research into a cure for the fourth-leading cause of death in California.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s takes place yearly in over 600 communities nationwide.

This year, the Marin-Sonoma walk was moved from Petaluma to a 2.3-mile course through the Sonoma State campus.

Joining walkers were dozens of business sponsors, who shared information on their services aimed at responding to the needs of Alzheimer’s patients and their families. In addition to fundraising, more than 100 volunteers worked to plan, prepare and set up the event.

A number of local performance groups entertained walkers throughout the course.

This was the largest turnout since the pandemic and public-health prohibitions on public gatherings prevented the traditional bi-county gathering.

Last year, individuals held their own walks in their neighborhoods, to raise donations and show their support for the association’s goals.

Participants at this year’s event were required to wear masks on the walk and at the gathering before and after the trek.

Besides raising funds for an important cause, the event brought together families and friends to celebrate lives of dear ones lost to Alzheimer’s, showing their support for those facing the disease and Alzheimer’s Association services.

Shari Woogen, walk manager, said she was grateful that many longtime sponsors returned and that the event’s mission attracted new supporters as well.

“This event is a heartfelt community reminder that collectively we can make a difference; from providing a much-needed helping hand for families confronting the challenges of Alzheimer’s to advancing efforts to further progress toward finding a cure,” said Walk Chair Diane Breithaupt. “The support shown by our walkers, sponsors and volunteers was incredible, both as a show of support and as a call for responding to this need.”

Approximately 690,000 people in California are living with Alzheimer’s disease. The disease affects over 1.6 million family and friends who are providing an estimated 1.8 billion hours of unpaid care.

Over the past fiscal year, the association’s North Bay offices that serve Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino residents have served 1,780 constituents, including its 24/7 Helpline, requests for information and referrals, care consultation and support groups and education.

There is still time to contribute to the event by going to its website at

People seeking information about the Alzheimer’s Association’s supportive services or those who want to ask questions can use a 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

Marc Loupe of Tiburon, a member of the Board of Directors, Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association, participates in the Marin-Sonoma even

Patt’s Posse is led by Shelley Dombroski, senior regional director, Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter, Alzheimers Association.

Dave’s Gang is led by Chris Anderson of San Anselmo, in memory of her husband.

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