Loved ones honor Mets legend Buddy Harrelson at Walk to End Alzheimer's

The event at Belmont Lake State Park is part of the world's largest fundraiser for Alzheimer's care, support and research.

News 12 Staff

Sep 18, 2022, 12:12 PM

Updated 580 days ago

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One team honored a Long Island legend Sunday at the ninth annual Walk to End Alzheimer's in North Babylon.
The event at Belmont Lake State Park was part of the world's largest fundraiser for Alzheimer's care, support and research.
About 1,500 Long Islanders made strides to raise money and help find a cure for the brain disorder.
Alzheimer's is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. An estimated 410,000 people in New York are living with Alzheimer's, including Suzanne Fonteboa, of North Babylon.
"Took a long time to come to terms with it, but we're overcoming," Fonteboa said.
Stephanie Garcia's mother, Nancy Urban, died of the disorder in 2020 at 60.
"Alzheimer's took her quick. She was 54 years old when she was diagnosed. No one had any idea," Garcia said.
One team participated in support of Buddy Harrelson, a Mets legend and part owner of the Long Island Ducks. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in Aug. 2016.
Kim Battaglia, Harrelson’s wife, says he wanted to make a difference by sharing his experience with the disease.
"He said, right away, 'I have Alzheimer's and I want people to know so they don't feel alone,'" Battaglia said.
Battaglia said the disorder has progressed in her husband and he can no longer make public appearances. That's why a team made up of Harrelson's family and friends walked to spread his message of support to those touched by Alzheimer's.
"Anyone with a family member living with Alzheimer's disease, we lose them twice. First, they lose their memories of us and we carry their memories and then inevitably there will be a time when Alzheimer's takes their life," Battaglia said.
The walk raises money for a variety of services for Alzheimer's patients.
"We have education programs, support groups and what not. So the funds are used for research, of course, because we have the largest funder, private funder, and then the fees are also used to provide these free programs to everyone," explained Tinamarie Hardekopf, director of development.
Participants said coming together to end Alzheimer's gives them hope.
"It doesn't have to end at the beginning. We can fight this to make it better and we can get through it all," Fonteboa said.
The Walk to End Alzheimer’s in North Babylon is one of more than 600 being held across the country from now until the end of October.
If you want to donate to Team Harrelson, click here.


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