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Helping out yourself and a good cause

In the next couple weeks Northlanders will have ample opportunity to support some good causes while getting their heart pumping. Whether one would like to solve some of the world's hunger problems or help the fight against Alzheimer's, there seem...

In the next couple weeks Northlanders will have ample opportunity to support some good causes while getting their heart pumping.

Whether one would like to solve some of the world's hunger problems or help the fight against Alzheimer's, there seems to be a walk for everyone.

Here's a quick rundown of the walks planned for Duluth in the coming days.

This weekend

Heart Walk

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The Heart Walk, sponsored by the American Heart Association, will begin at the DECC with registration beginning at 9 a.m. and the walk beginning at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.

Along the walking path, which will be the Lakewalk, there will be educational activities and stories of survivors.

In the United States, heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers, respectively, according to the AHA's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics report from 2004.

To make a donation or find out more, visit www.americanheart.org or call (800) 242-8721.

CROP Walk

The Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty Hunger Walk, sponsored by Church World Services, will begin at First Lutheran Church at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30.

This walk, which will take place on the Lakewalk, helps raise funds to help erase hunger locally and globally.

According to Meg Kearns, the food shelf coordinator for Churches United in Ministry, 25 percent of the pledges raised will go towards local groups such as the Damiano Center, the CHUM Food Shelf, the Salvation Army, the Union Gospel Mission and Loaves and Fishes. The other 75 percent will be dedicated toward global hunger issues.

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This walk comes in line with CHUM's recent Duluth Food Stamp Challenge where some Northland residents tried to live off of $3 per day, the normal amount of money given to food stamp recipients.

For more on the CROP Walk or to make a donation, call 827-2391.

Buddy Walk

The sixth annual Duluth Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome will begin with registration at 10:30 a.m. and the walk at 12 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 at Bayfront Park.

This year's event will offer free T-shirts, refreshments, music, games and clowns. All of this was organized by parents of children who have Down Syndrome.

"Most of the stuff is donated," said Missy Barnstorf, an organizer for the walk.

Last year's event had 1,500 participants. The event raised about $25,000.

"The purpose (of the walk) is to increase awareness and acceptance," said Barnstorf, who is also a member of Down Up North, a local group of parents with children who have Down Syndrome.

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For more, visit www.downupnorth.org .

Next weekend

Alzheimer's Association Walk

Duluth's Alzheimer's Association's Walk will begin with registration at 9 a.m. at the Family Center in Bayfront Park with the walk beginning at 10 a.m. under the arch in Bayfront Saturday, Oct. 6.

There will be two different loops this year, said Esther Gieschen, the Northern Regional Director for the Alzheimer's Association. One will be a half-mile and the other will be two miles.

Through pledges, they hope to generate their goal of $53,000. These funds then go to help northeast Minnesota in the fight against Alzheimer's.

Other events occurring during this event include a musical performance from Lorren Lindeving, a raffle with prizes donated by area businesses, a classic car show, face painting by Girl Scouts and clowns.

Awards will also be handed out.

James Smith, who was the director of technology for the Fortune 100 company American Express (now known as Ameriprise Financial), will speak this year on how he has dealt with his Alzheimer's diagnosis. He is 47.

"With Alzheimer's, if I do not see something, it is like it doesn't exist," Smith said in an e-mail interview.

His plans and aspirations for the future have also been changed by Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's is especially difficult in that it not only takes away your future, it takes away your dreams for the future as well," Smith said.

According to Smith, more than 650,000 people under the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer's.

With walks such as this, a cure may become a reality rather than a hope.

"We are getting close to a cure, but money is needed to fund research into disease-modifying treatments," said Smith. "We are so close -- now is not the time to lose our momentum."

For more on the walk, call 733-2560 or visit www.alzmndak.org .

Marathon for Nonpublic Education

The St. Rose School in Proctor will have their annual Marathon for Nonpublic Education at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5 starting at the Willard Munger Trail entrance near the Lake Superior Zoo.

This marathon helps with the operating expenses of the school, said Walter Fischer, principal at St. Rose School.

The school, which is for grades kindergarten through sixth, currently has students taking pledges. Their goal is to raise $6,000.

Some of these students will also do some clean-up at the Terry Egerdahl Field in Proctor Friday, Oct. 5.

To make a donation or participate in the walk, call Walter Fischer at 624-0818.

'Walk for Thought'

The Minnesota Brain Injury Association will have their first "Walk for Thought" in Duluth, beginning with registration at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Hampton Inn.

The walk, which begins at 10 a.m., will follow the Lakewalk for three miles.

According to Patricia Stolle, the director of human resources for Community Connection (a volunteer for the MBIA) they are expecting a few hundred people.

"We're real excited to have it here," Stolle said.

About 100,000 people in Minnesota have traumatic brain injuries.

To find out more about the walk, visit www.braininjurymn.org .

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