SUMMERVILLE, S.C.– There are more than 95,000 South Carolinians living with Alzheimer’s disease, and more than 318,000 family and friends providing care for them, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services, is working to raise awareness and funds for local families living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia with its third annual Ugly Sweater 5K dash and one-mile stroll in historic downtown Summerville on Dec.12. To kick-off the holiday season, runners and walkers should wear their most festive holiday sweater for a chance to win prizes. Funds raised from this event will help support The ARK’s work in five area counties, including their social respite programs, memory screenings, resource fairs, educational workshops, and support groups.
“Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia is demanding and overwhelming even in normal circumstances, let alone during a pandemic,” said Peg Lahmeyer, The ARK’s executive director. “The ARK’s programs and resources are more critical than ever for families living with Alzheimer’s and or dementia. We are committed to making sure no one faces this disease alone. This fun run will help us provide much needed support in our community.”
On Dec. 12, the 5K will begin at 8:45 a.m. at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 206 Central Ave. and the one-mile stroll kicks off at 9:45 a.m. Awards will be given out to the top three overall male and female runners.
All race proceeds will benefit The ARK’s comprehensive support services for families living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. More South Carolinians die from Alzheimer’s disease than in any other state. The average mortality rate for the nation is 37.3 per 100,000 population, in South Carolina it is 50.5 (2020 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures report).
“The safety of race participants, volunteers, sponsors, and community is top priority. While the Ugly Sweater Dash is scheduled to be in person, we are monitoring the COVID-19 recommendations as outlined by the CDC,” said Megan Severn, The ARK’s director of development and communications. “If plans shift to a virtual race, all registrants will be notified and transferred to the virtual platform.”
Register online by Dec. 10 at 5:59 p.m. and pay $35 for the 5K run/walk and $10 for the one-mile stroll or $30 for a group of four. Drive through registration and packet pickup will be on Dec. 11 from noon to 6 p.m. at 502 West 5th North Street, Summerville (corner of Hwy 78 and Hickory Street).
Learn more and register for the Race for The ARK at www.TheARKofSC.org. For more information regarding sponsorship levels, contact Megan Severn at DevelopmentDir@thearkofsc.org.
ABOUT THE ARK, ALZHEIMER’S FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES
Based in Summerville, The ARK is a local nonsectarian nonprofit outreach program providing hope and relief to families living with Alzheimer’s Disease or a Related Dementia (ADRD). Support services include social respite care, support groups, education, caregiver consultations, resource referrals and community development. For more information, call 843-471-1360 or visit thearkofsc.org.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tiffany Hicks Photography