One of the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease is age, but it's not just a disease that affects the elderly.

 

That's why Debbie Seto is so touched to see people of all ages participating in the Walk for Memories every year.

 

"It's amazing--you have kids and parents with babies in strollers participating," said Seto, the spokeswoman for the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County. "You see multi-generational groups walking together."

 

More than 300 people are expected to attend this year's Walk for Memories, being held inside the Carlingwood Mall Sunday morning. The event's location is popular because of the weather conditions this time of year, Seto said.

 

As the population ages, more people will see someone they know develop Alzheimer's or some other dementia, said Seto.

And because of increased awareness of the disease, people are being diagnosed at a younger age, she added.

Since 1996, the event has raised more than $1.4 million across Ontario. Last year, Ottawa‚s event brought in $120,000, and Seto hopes to repeat that in this weekend's event.

The money raised this weekend will stay in the area and go towards support programs and research initiatives.

According to Seto, approximately 12,000 people suffer from the disease in Ottawa and Renfrew County. Nationally, that number jumps to 500,000 people.

The walk, which begins at 11 a.m., features one-, three-, five- and eight-kilometre events, and marks National Alzheimer Awareness Month. Events are also held in 50 other communities across Ontario.