By Julie Sherwood
Keith Rowlands and his family know intimately — three times over — how Alzheimer’s disease hurts.
“It is a horrible disease,” said Rowlands, who lost three family members within three years to Alzheimer’s. His father, Donald, died in 2007 at the age of 72 — and in the prior three years, Donald’s twin brother, Daniel, and other brother, Bob, had both died of the disease.
It was after their father died, said Keith Rowlands, a technical service engineer who lives in Gorham, that he and his siblings decided to rally behind the cause to end Alzheimer’s.
On Saturday, the Rowlands family will join others for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The national event — which takes place this Saturday, Sept. 21, in Canandaigua — benefits The Alzheimer’s Association of Rochester & the Finger Lakes, which serves a nine-county region that includes Monroe, Ontario, Wayne and Yates counties. The mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through research and enhancing care and support for those affected, along with promoting brain health to reduce the risk of dementia. Alzheimer's is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death, according to The Alzheimer’s Association.
The walk, which starts at Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum at 10 a.m., offers two routes: a 1.1-mile stroll through Canandaigua's historic neighborhoods and a 3.3-mile walk that extends into Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park off Charlotte Street. Registration is at 9 a.m.
Keith said participating in the walk is a way to help fight the disease while celebrating time with family and friends.
“You can’t live life crying. You have to do something positive," Keith's sister Christine Caplan stated in a press release promoting the walk.
“When you look around, you realize, wow, just how many people at the Canandaigua walk have been affected,” added Rowlands. “You see first that you are not alone, and second, that there are a lot of people working to make it better."
WHAT Canandaigua Walk to End Alzheimer’s
WHEN Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m. (registration begins at 9 a.m.)
WHERE Begins at Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum, 295 N. Main St. Canandaigua
DETAILS The event features a 1.1-mile walk through the city’s historic neighborhoods and a 3.3-mile walk that extends into Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park. Routes are wheelchair-accessible. Sign up to participate at or by calling (800) 272-3900. To volunteer, call (585) 760-5472.
ONLINE Information at