DOYLESTOWN, Pa., April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Dementia Society of America kicks off a 44-day national "step-a-thon" to raise grassroots awareness for dementia and brain health. The Step2Raise program (step2raise.org) will see participants walk a combined 3,000 miles to also highlight life-enrichment programs for people living with dementia.
There are more than 6 million people living with dementia the U.S., and for 44 days the Dementia Society will highlight dementia and brain health awareness by asking people to use the fitness trackers they already wear, or carry on their smartphones, in order to virtually walk across America together, a goal of more than 6 million steps.
"Step2Raise is unique because we're not requiring people to fundraise or donate to participate, it's free," said Kevin Jameson, volunteer and founder of the Dementia Society. "We're simply asking people to register, walk and help shine a light on dementia and brain health. Not only will they support their own brain's health through the act of simply walking everyday , but they'll be part of a great program, Ginny Gives, that brings joy, happiness and smiles to those living with dementia." Step2Raise begins Saturday, May 7 (the day before Mother's Day) and ends June 19, (Father's Day).
Participants can register anytime through to even the last day of the challenge on Sunday June 19. The Dementia Society's technology platform will combine individual participants' steps with those taken by others across the country using the fitness trackers and smartphone apps they already wear or carry. Step2Raise works with popular electronic fitness trackers, as well as a free smartphone app. The Dementia Society welcomes people of all ages and fitness levels to participate in the challenge.
The challenge's goal of six million combined steps — enough to virtually walk across the country — reflects the more than six million Americans currently living with one of the 10 leading forms of dementia. Alzheimer's Dementia alone is considered the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and estimates are that at least one in three seniors will die with dementia. The number of deaths attributable to dementia is argued to be significantly under-reported due to the stigma of the disease, lack of education and other coexisting health issues that can often occur at the end of one's life. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, caregiving costs exceed $216 billion annually, while the personal toll on care partner's is nearly immeasurable.
The organization is not asking participants to fundraise, yet 100 percent of any donations received by the Dementia Society during the 44-day Step2Raise Challenge will go directly into the organization's innovative Ginny Gives Program. Philips Lifeline is a marquis corporate sponsor of this Step2Raise Challenge.
Ginny Gives provides grants to musicians, artists, therapists and performers to go into nursing homes, continuing care residential and other communities nationwide where the Dementia Society underwrites non-medical therapeutic activities for people living with dementia. It was established to honor Jameson's wife, "Ginny," who died with dementia in 2014. To date, Ginny Gives has benefited hundreds of people living with dementia.
"Connect your fitness tracker to Step2Raise and walk for an hour, a day, a weekend or all 44 days. Take one step or 10,000 steps. Every step counts," said Jameson.
About the Dementia Society
Dementia Society of America is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide useful information and bring national attention and awareness to the dementia community, and the importance of maintaining and protecting good brain health. Learn more at Step2Raise.org.
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SOURCE Dementia Society of America