DENVER —** With the support of thousands of Denver residents, Annabel Bowlen and the Bowlen family led the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's on Saturday morning at City Park.
"We have over 10,000 people who show up at City Park and not only to raise funds for our care and support programs and for research and education classes that we do," said Gene Sobczak, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association of Colorado. "It's also the largest convening of people in the state of Colorado who have a personal connection with the disease, and that's really as important for them as it is for us."
The Bowlens' group, Team Super Bowlen, and the Broncos raised about $100,000 for the walk on behalf of Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen. Broncos players, coaches and staff raised nearly $50,000, an amount the Broncos organization matched. That money, along with other Walks to End Alzheimer's in the state, will go toward funding programs and services to families and caregivers throughout Colorado.
View photos of Team Super Bowlen, led by Annabel Bowlen and the Bowlen family, participating in the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's.
"Mrs. Bowlen and the Bowlen family have done an incredible job generating awareness and support for Alzheimer's over these last four years," said Patrick Smyth, Executive Vice President of Public and Community Relations. "The generosity of the players, in particular, and the participation at today's walk from so many in the organization speaks to how important this cause is for the Broncos."
But the impact the Bowlens have had on the Alzheimer's Association of Colorado goes well beyond money.
"Our relationship with the Bowlen family, with Team Super Bowlen, has been huge," Sobczak, said. "Aside from the fact that the fundraising that they do as a result of the walk really helps us with our programs, but we have an opportunity also to be able to provide some services and some support to the family itself. With that as well, the family's acknowledgment of Mr. Bowlen's diagnosis has really made it easy and made it almost permissible throughout the state to talk about their own experiences, and that in some ways more than anything has been the biggest impact for our association."
After the walk, the Bowlen family thanked everyone who came to the event in support of Pat Bowlen, and Annabel Bowlen expressed her hope for more people to get involved in helping the Alzheimer's Association's fight to find a cure.
"I think it was just fabulous, and I want to say to everybody that it was just special that they came out," Annabel Bowlen said.
"We have to all get together and really, really try to get more people thinking about it, because one in 10 people will get this disease, and that's a lot."
For information on how to donate to the Alzheimer's Association, please visit this page.