At the 11th Annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held Sept. 16 at Library Park in Lake Geneva, more than 800 participants turn out, a 26 percent increase over last year’s event. More than $135,000 has been raised though donations are still being accepted. (Submitted photo)

The greater Walworth County community showed its support on Sept. 16 as more than 800 participants turned out to support the 11th Annual Walk To End Alzheimer’s at Library Park in Lake Geneva.

The Walk, co-chaired by Andy Kerwin, owner of Geneva Crossing Senior Community, Sonja Akright, sales support executive at Primex Wireless, and Josh Spiegelhoff, owner of Spiegelhoff Insurance already raised $135,450 and is expected to grow as donations continue to roll in, according to a press release following the event. This year’s event experienced a 26 percent increase in participants and a 35 percent increase in teams over 2016.

“On behalf of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Sonja, Josh and I would like to thank the people in Walworth County for doing an outstanding job raising awareness and much needed funds that will help the Alzheimer’s Association fund critical research and provide care and support services to more than 2,200 local people and families living with this disease,” Kerwin said.

“None of the victories that we’ve achieved as an organization this year, from providing over 33,000 points of service in Southeastern Wisconsin, to speaking up for the needs and rights of those facing the disease, could have happened without grassroots support for the mission,” Dave Grams, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Wisconsin chapter, said.

“Thanks to local efforts like this, the Alzheimer’s Association has fought for and won legislative approval that more than doubled funding for Alzheimer’s research at NIH in just the last 24 months,” Grams added.

The annual Wally Phillips Spirit Award was presented this year to Tom Hlavacek, former executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association who retired in June. Each year this award is given to honor an individual or group whose efforts best exemplify the spirit of generosity and service above self that is WGN Hall of Fame Broadcaster Wally Phillips legacy.

During Hlavacek’s 12-year career as executive director “he was a tireless advocate on the local, state and national levels for individuals living with the disease and their families. His leadership in program, public policy, and fundraising areas exponentially expanded services to Walworth County and all over Southeastern Wisconsin,” the release states.

Donations can still be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Wisconsin chapter, 620 S. 76th Street, Suite 160, Milwaukee, WI 53214. Donors are asked to designate contributions to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Walworth County Walk. Donations can also be made online through Nov. 30 at

The money raised in Walworth County is used to fund research and services including support groups, information and referral services, care consultations and a 24/7 Helpline, (800) 272-3900.


About the walk

Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Held annually in hundreds of communities across the country, this inspiring event calls on volunteers of all ages to become champions in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Champions include people living with the disease, friends, families, neighbors, caregivers, and business and community leaders, all getting involved in Walk to End Alzheimer’s.


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