The annual Midcoast Memory Walk, held to raise funds for information, education, and research in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, will take place on Sept. 25. The Knox Center, located in Rockland, will be the site for both the start and finish of the four-mile event.

The local event is one of 13 held statewide and is part of the national Alzheimer’s Association fundraising effort.

While individual walkers are welcome, the Memory Walk uses a team approach to fundraising. Anyone seeking more information on how to donate, volunteer, or participate can call Sara Hatfield at 594-6850 or e-mail her at shatfield@penbayhealthcare.org

Last year the Alzheimer’s Association Maine chapter raised $328,000, with more than 1,600 people taking part. This year’s goals are to raise $350,000, with more than 2,000 participants.

The Memory Walk is also celebrating its twentieth year and this year’s event has a twenties theme. Organizers are encouraging participating teams to set a goal of raising 20 percent more funds, make a personal donation of $20 more, recruit 20 people to join the team, ask 20 people for a $20 donation, or send an e-mail a day for 20 days to solicit donations.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that destroys brain cells. This causes memory loss, impaired judgment and disorientation for those afflicted.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association more than 37,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease statewide, with an estimated 147,000 friends and family members providing unpaid care and support for these individuals.

Funds raised by the walk help support services such as a helpline staff around the clock seven days a week, community support groups located across the state, education programs for family and professionals, and public policy advocacy.

One individual with a keen insight into the 20-year celebration is Jean Edmondson of Bath. Edmondson has walked every year of the event since its inception. She learned of the first event through a television news promotion and took part in the Scarborough walk with her husband and, then 6-month-old son.

She participated in memory of her father, Paul Huber, who succumbed to the disease before her son was born. According to Edmondson, her father began his struggle with Alzheimer’s at age 55.

“My father was undoubtedly one of the most influential people in my life,” said Edmondson in a press release. “As his youngest daughter it was difficult to watch the man I knew as brilliant, supportive and funny become confused, depressed and lose his ability to verbalize a simple thought.”

Edmondson continued to walk with her immediate family for the next nine years, until a conflict with soccer forced her, now two sons and coach father to drop out. Edmondson then convinced her four older sisters to walk with her in the Rockland event, being held in her home town. One sister came up from Princeton, N.J., for the event.

“My mother still lives in Rockland in the home where we all grew up, so we would meet there for a fun, sisterly-reunion weekend,” said Edmondson. “It was a lovely way to remember our father and contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association.”

One of Edmondson’s most poignant memories of the walk occurred in Rockland when a keynote speaker, whose name she cannot recall, spoke of his mother and the fine care she was receiving at the Knox Center.

“My father too, had spent his final years at the Knox Center in the care of many dear nurses and staff members,” said Edmondson. “As I glanced at my sisters through my tears, all four were wiping away their own.”