DeWitt Place hosts Alzheimer’s awareness event

Dollie Young, DeWitt Place resident, is greeted by Joaneigh Angelo, Tennessee Cinderella Tiny Tot.

The color purple was on full display Wednesday afternoon.

DeWitt Place Assisted Living served as host to Alzheimer’s Tennessee with a “Purple Party,” signifying the color for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The event served as a kickoff for Alzheimer’s Tennessee’s annual Smoky Mountain Walk to be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Smokies Stadium in Kodak.

Performers from Pigeon Forge’s “Country Tonight” came to DeWitt Place Wednesday to perform a concert for residents. Entertainment included singer Kevin Wilson, guitarist/singer John Young and Mike Caldwell on the harmonica. Wilson performed songs such as “Hey, Good Looking”, “The Fireman” and more. Young performed Randy Travis’ “Deeper Than the Holler.”

Young artist Parker Collins, 11, did a mini-Elvis Presley medley with “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog.” He also wowed the residents with the Osborne Brothers’ “Rocky Top.”

Miriam Higgins, executive director of DeWitt Place, was excited to host the event.

“This Purple Party is with Alzheimer’s Tennessee,” Higgins said. “We’re getting ready for the Alzheimer’s Tennessee Walk at the Smokies Park on Saturday, Sept. 21. Purple is the color used to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease research and education.

“Country Tonight volunteered their time to come put on a concert for our residents,” Higgins said. “Our assisted living facility cares for many Alzheimer’s Disease patients and those with dementia.”

The fact that the late Pat Head Summitt was diagnosed with dementia during the last years of her life has brought more awareness of the disease to this area, Higgins said.

“I think she has brought more awareness to the cause specifically to this area of East Tennessee where they have the research facility in Knoxville, that is a great resource,” Higgins said.

Higgins likes the fact that Alzheimer’s Tennessee keeps all funding to the local area.

“It’s a great resource to the community and what they have to offer the families who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia,” Higgins said.

Alzheimer’s Tennessee CEO Janice Wade-Whitehead was pleased with the turnout for the “Purple Party.”

“It’s our privilege to be at DeWitt Place for the Purple Party,” she said. “It’s a great way to bring the community together and give some joy to some of the residents here today and their families. This is to create through awareness about the resources that Alzheimer’s Tennessee has for families and also to create awareness about our upcoming walk.”

Wade-Whitehead anticipates around 600 participants in the Walk at Smokies Park in Kodak.

“Hamblen County is a big supporter. We love to have the support to come,” she said. “Come and bring your family.”

The park will open at 9 a.m., Sept. 21. Registration is 10 a.m.

“If you know someone with Alzheimer’s, please bring them because it will be a great activity to get out in the community.

To register for the walk, go to alzTennessee.org or call the office at 865-544-6288.