By Jessica Mathews /

A Brighton woman is among hundreds who will be taking part in the Alzheimer’s Association Brighton Walk to End Alzheimer's this Saturday.

The walk is typically held at the Brighton Mill Pond but like many events due to COVID-19, it will look a little different. Instead of a large gathering, participants will walk as individuals or small groups. A virtual opening ceremony begins at 10:30am Saturday, which will include a presentation of promise flowers to honor the personal reasons participants join together to fight Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Participants are encouraged to walk directly following the ceremony. Then from noon to 4pm, participants are encouraged to visit two promise gardens in view-only format. Those are located in the Maltby/Horning school parking lot in Brighton and the historic Livingston County Courthouse in downtown Howell.

More than 366 participants and 99 teams are registered. Among them is Susan Hilse, who is also a volunteer committee member of Brighton Walk to End Alzheimer's. Hilse says her father passed away in 2015 after a span of about eight years of watching his body and mind slip away. After he passed, Hilse says she felt helpless but found out about the Association and walk and thought it was something she could do to help others. Her aunt then passed away this past May.

Hilse will be walking around her neighborhood decked out in all purple, the signature color for the cause, and says people “won’t be able to miss her”. She also plans to walk through the cemetery where her parents are buried to honor them. Prior to all of that, Hilse will be helping set up the promise gardens featuring the forget-me-not flowers that signify the Association. Hilse says it’s very powerful to see and each color represents different things. Purple signifies losing someone, yellow means caring for someone, blue signifies someone has Alzheimer’s or another dementia disorder and orange signifies support for the cause.

Hilse says the walk is an amazing, uplifting experience that helped her realize she’s not alone. There might be a different format this year but Hilse says Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t take a break from the pandemic so they need to keep pushing forward. She says many caregivers and others need a lot of help right now and the walk is a great way to get the word out about all of the resources available. More information and links to donate can be found through the link.